Russia and Vietnam are committed to enhancing the military cooperation between the countries, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.
“I look forward to further close and trusting cooperation between our defense ministries. We attach great importance to military cooperation.
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We are determined to continue to strengthen the entire range of bilateral ties relying on the understanding, respect and trust that have developed between our countries,” Shoigu said during an online conference with Vietnam’s Chief of General Staff Phan Van Giang.
The minister noted that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Russian-Vietnamese strategic partnership.
“Despite the ongoing [COVID-19] restrictions, we maintain a political dialogue at all levels. Our meeting today is proof of this. We are open for a substantive conversation on the development of mutually beneficial cooperation,” Shoigu said.
He further stressed that the coordination of joint actions within the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations would continue.
Phan Van, in turn, confirmed Vietnam’s commitment to strengthening the cooperation with Russia.
Experts believe that Vietnam’s move to bolster defense ties with Russia will encourage the nation to pursue a multi-nation foreign policy without being dependent on any single country.
Vietnam, which has faced challenges from France, the United States and China within the past decade appreciates Russian support, Vietnamese state media outlets reported after their Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich visited Moscow Feb. 5.
China remains the biggest purchaser of Russian weapons in Southeast Asia, however, Moscow is strengthening defense ties with other countries in the region, including Vietnam. In 2019, Vietnam acquired 12 Russian Yak-130 jets for $350 million and experts believe there is much more to come.