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Lavrov to discuss multifaceted cooperation in Vietnam

Earlier the Foreign Minister mentioned an increase in trade turnover between the two countries

HANOI, March 23. /TASS/. Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov will hold talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi on Friday.

Heads of foreign ministries of the two countries are expected to discuss pressing issues of the bilateral agenda and global topics of mutual interest at the upcoming talks, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said earlier. "Efforts to deepen cooperation between Russia and Vietnam in trade, investment, scientific, technological and humanitarian fields is supposed to be the key area of focus," the ministry said.

Russia’s Foreign Minister is also expected to meet Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi.

The two countries will mark a 25th anniversary of signing the agreement on basic friendly relations next year. During this time, Moscow and Hanoi have managed to establish "very close ties," based on "long-lasting traditions of friendship and mutual support," Russia’s foreign ministry said.

"A regular political dialogue on the top and high level is one of the key factors of a gradual bolstering of ties," the ministry said, adding that Russia and Vietnam "have a rich positive experience of mutually beneficial cooperation and a weighty potential for further progress."

Earlier Lavrov stressed in an interview with Vietnamese media an increase in trade turnover between the two countries. He said that last year only, the trade turnover between Russia and Vietnam soared by more than 35%, reaching an all-time high. "We think the result is mainly related to the free trade agreement which Vietnam signed with the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015, and which entered into force in 2016. I am convinced that the statistics of Vietnam’s trade relations with other EAEU members will be similar, demonstrating that this free trade zone works in the interests of all EAEU members and, of course, Vietnam itself," Russia’s top diplomat said.

Moscow views efforts to boost multifaceted cooperation with Vietnam as one of important areas of Russia’s external politics in the Asian and Pacific region, Lavrov said. "It meets vital interests of the people of our countries, ensures peace and stability building and sustainable development in the region," the minister added.

The high-level work group on priority investment projects established in 2012 also contributes to close ties between Moscow and Hanoi, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said. The group focuses on 17 priority items in the area of energy, industrial production, mineral production and tourism. "The oil and gas sector is one of the key areas of cooperation," the ministry said, adding that "oil production exceeded 4.7 mln tonnes in 2017 (with over 229 mln tonnes produced over the whole period of operations)."

Russian energy majors Gazprom and Rosneft are involved in operations offshore Vietnam, while Rusvietpetro, a joint company, has been involved in hydrocarbon production in Russia since 2008. "There is a sound cooperation experience in such areas as power generation, machine building, transport, mining and metals industry," the ministry said.

Moscow also considers the development of Vietnam’s transport infrastructure as a promising cooperation field. "It includes involvement of Russia’s relevant companies in construction of separate railroad lines, construction of tube lines in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City," Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

Sergey Lavrov also plans to dwell upon potential cooperation between the two countries in the military technical field during his visit to Vietnam.

Moscow and Hanoi also place high emphasis on humanitarian partnership, particularly the tourism industry. According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Vietnam has been increasingly popular among Russian travelers recently. "In 2017, a total of 512,000 Russian tourists visited Vietnam (+30.6%), and 70,000 visitors from Vietnam (came) to Russia (+94.4%)," the ministry said.