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HANOI, April 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Cooperation between Vietnam and Russia is successfully developing in all areas, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh told Itar-Tass on Tuesday ahead of the official visit to his country by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The Vietnamese foreign minister stressed that political contacts between Hanoi and Moscow were characterized by a high degree of reliability and mutual trust. “The high level of trust in our bilateral relations serves as a basis for their further development, first of all, in such key areas as trade and investments, energy, defence and security,” he noted.
Despite the difficult economic situation in the world, he said, trade and economic ties between Vietnam and Russia were developing dynamically. “Bilateral trade in 2013 reached four billion U.S. dollars, having increased by seven percent on the previous year. Mutual direct investments amounted to two billion U.S. dollars from each side,” Pham Binh Minh said, adding that the signing of a free trade zone between his country and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan would further promote bilateral trade and economic relations. “We have had five rounds of talks on the preparation of the free trade zone agreement and plan to finish the negotiating process by the end of this year and sign the document at the beginning of the next year,” he noted.
Among top priority cooperation areas, the Vietnamese deputy prime minister cited cooperation in the energy sector. Russia’s oil and gas majors, such as Zarubezhneft, Gazprom, Rosneft and their joint companies with Vietnamese partners - Vietsovpetro, Rusvietpetro and Gazpromviet - are successfully operating on Russia’s and Vietnam’s markets.
Along with that, the two countries are closely cooperating on the project for the construction of Vietnam’s first nuclear station Ninh Thuan-1. Vietnam’s partner in this project is Russia’s state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom. “The project for the construction with Russia’s participation of Vietnam’s first nuclear plant is of paramount importance for ensuring Vietnam’s energy security and will be a vivid symbol of cooperation between our countries at a new stage,” Pham Binh Minh stressed.
Speaking about cooperation between his country and Russia on the world arena, the Vietnamese foreign minister noted that Hanoi and Moscow had a common point of view on key problems of the international and regional agenda. The two countries closely cooperate and support each other in international affairs, especially within the United Nations Organization and in other international formats, such as Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) and the East Asian Community (EAC) summit.
Vietnam highly appreciates and supports Russia’s initiatives on strengthening security and promoting cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, Pham Binh Minh said in conclusion.