The defense ministries of Vietnam and Russia have just signed a military-technical cooperation agreement, which is said to “create a legal basis for further promoting defense cooperation” between the two countries.
During a bilateral meeting in Moscow on December 1, “Russian Defense Minister, Army General Sergei Shoigu and his Vietnamese counterpart, General Phan Van Giang, signed an Intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation military-technical cooperation and the Inter-Ministerial Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the military field,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on its official website.
General Sergei Shoigu said at the talks that Russia and Vietnam “have accumulated a unique experience of joint work based on long-term friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation,” according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
“We always give priority to cooperation in the field of military and military technology,” said Mr. Sergei Shoigu, “Vietnam is one of the important countries in the Asia-Pacific region with the modern force and well equipped.”
The Defense Ministers of the two countries signed a number of important cooperation documents, creating a legal basis to further promote defense and military-technical cooperation between the two countries,” said the Vietnamese Government Portal.
From Binh Phuoc, Mr. Quang Huu Minh, an observer of the regional military-political situation, commented to VOA about the Russia-Vietnam military agreement:
“Vietnam getting closer to Russia is an inevitable requirement. While drawing closer to the US, they are more cautious because they are concerned about democracy and human rights issues. Russia rarely demands these things from Vietnam, while the Communist Party of Vietnam need not worry about Russia carrying out ‘peaceful evolution.’
Today’s process between Russia and Vietnam also needs to review Vietnam’s support for Russia to set up a Russian military base in Laos a few months ago; In the context of US-China tensions with each other over the South China Sea issue, Vietnam needs Russia as a prop to balance influence among major powers in the region.”
In April 2021, according to VOA News and RFA, Lao officials said that Russia will start a project to build a military airport in Xieng Khouang province bordering Vietnam. The Vietnamese side has not officially commented on Russia’s construction of a military airport in Laos.
The British defense magazine Janes.com announced that this new deal between Russia and Vietnam, aimed at restoring Russia-Vietnam defense and trade relations, comes amid growing alarm in Vietnam that the military dealings with Moscow could risk damaging the strategic relationship with the United States.
The joint statement released by Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defense on December 1 said the agreement was part of a new goal for Vietnam and Russia to deepen their “comprehensive strategic partnership” by 2030.
“Vietnam and the Russian Federation continue to strengthen cooperation in defense, security, military, and military technology on the basis of international law, for peace and stability in the region and in the world,” the joint statement said.
“The two sides maintain regular exchanges on defense and security channels, including at the leadership level; strengthen training and specialized activities among relevant agencies and units; complete the professional mechanisms and legal basis to support effective cooperation in the field of defense and security.”
On December 2, within the framework of his visit to Russia, General Phan Van Giang met and presented gifts to Russian veterans who fought and worked in Vietnam, according to the Government Portal.
On December 1, Russia and countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, began the first joint naval exercise along Indonesia’s Malacca Strait, Vietnam’s state-controlled media reported.
The three-day exercise involved ASEAN member states as Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Brunei have sent warships or aircraft to participate, while the Philippines has joined as an online observer.
The Ministry of National Defense of Vietnam said that the country’s Navy sent missile corvette 012 – Ly Thai To to participate in the “ASEAN – Russia Naval Exercise” taking place from November 28 to December 3, 2021, in Indonesia.
On November 28, the warship arrived at the Belawan International Container Terminal (BICT) in Belawan, North Sumatra, according to USIN News.
According to Russian Ambassador to ASEAN Alexander Ivanov, the purpose of the exercise is to ensure peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.
Vietnam’s state-controlled media reported that the exercise named ARNEX LATMA 2021 with the theme “Joint action to ensure the safety of maritime economic activities and civil maritime” was organized to maintain friendly relations between ASEAN countries and Russia.