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Expert considers Vietnam 'bridge to ASEAN'

May 16, 2016, 11:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW

An expert says bilateral relations between Russia and Vietnam are an example of opportunities for the member countries of ASEAN

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Banners of the Russia-ASEAN summit at the airport in Sochi

Banners of the Russia-ASEAN summit at the airport in Sochi

© Artur Lebedev/TASS

MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. Bilateral relations between Russia and Vietnam are an example of opportunities for the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), leading research fellow at the Center of Vietnam and ASEAN Studies at the Institute of the Far East at the Russian Academy of Sciences Grigory Lokshin told TASS on Monday.

"Vietnam has long ago outgrown the role of our junior partner that needs our help and solidarity. Vietnam today is a rapidly developing country that is successfully integrating into regional economy and is an authoritative and reliable partner for many countries in the world," Lokshin, who also serves as deputy chairman at the Society of Russian-Vietnamese Friendship, said ahead of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Moscow that starts today and Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi on May 19-20.

"We often call this country (Vietnam) ‘bridge to ASEAN’," Lokshin said. "However, this is not just a bridge by which you can enter other countries in the region. This is the display window of effectiveness and potential opportunities of our bilateral cooperation," he added. "Politicians and business circles of all ASEAN countries are carefully watching" developing cooperation between Russia and Vietnam and "making their conclusions," he noted.

Lokshin reminded that "Vietnam’s annual surplus in trade with Russia stands at over $1 billion, while Vietnam’s direct investment in Russia’s economy stands at several billion dollars and exceeds all Russian investment into Vietnam’s economy over the last 30 years." "Our cooperation is developing especially successfully in the oil and gas sphere," the ambassador said.

During Vietnamese prime minister’s visit to Russia, the sides "are expected to discuss several questions which will allow to give an impetus to stalling large-scale project of constructing a nuclear power plant in Vietnam." "Concrete agreements will be announced after Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit," he added.

"Our cooperation with Vietnam, as well as with other ASEAN countries, is necessary for us as an opportunity to diversify our trade and economic relations in the East and not put, how they say, ‘all eggs in one box’," the expert concluded.

Russia-ASEAN summit

The Russia-ASEAN summit will be held in Sochi on May 19-20 and will become the biggest international event in Russia in 2016. The summit will be held under the slogan "Towards Strategic Partnership for the Sake of the Common Good."

The summit is expected to adopt a declaration that will lay the basis for an action plan of Russia-ASEAN cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres, as well as in the sphere of security.

Russia has been a dialog partner of ASEAN since July 1996. Similar partnership summits are normally held on the territory of member-states and the choice of Sochi as venue for the Russia-ASEAN summit on the partnership’s 20th anniversary is symbolic.

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