Putin Seeks Support in Vietnam Amid International Isolation

Despite both North Korea and Russia facing international isolation, Vietnam has carefully built alliances with the United States and the European Union, leading to US condemnation of Hanoi hosting the Russian leader

by Sededin Dedovic
Putin Seeks Support in Vietnam Amid International Isolation
© Baku TV | RU / Youtube channel

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, after visiting North Korea. The United States criticized the visit as it gives Putin a platform to promote his invasion of Ukraine. Vietnam still values its historical ties with Russia, despite working to improve its relations with Europe and the United States.

The invasion of Ukraine has posed a diplomatic challenge for Vietnam, which it has so far handled "well." Vietnam has been neutral on various United Nations resolutions condemning Russia's actions but has maintained good relations with Ukraine and even sent some aid to Kyiv, according to the BBC.

Vietnam adheres to its long-standing political principles of being friends with everyone but not forming formal alliances—a policy the Communist Party leadership calls "bamboo diplomacy," which bends with the winds of great power rivalries without taking sides.

This is why Vietnam has readily advanced its relations with the United States, a country against which its previous leaders fought a long and devastating war, in the interest of seeking lucrative export markets and balancing close ties with neighboring China.

The US opposed Putin's official visit to Vietnam, arguing it undermines international efforts to isolate Russia. Before arriving, Putin praised Vietnam for its balanced stance on the war in Ukraine. Ahead of the state visit to Vietnam, Putin lauded Vietnam for supporting a "pragmatic way to resolve the crisis" in Ukraine, according to Nhan Dan newspaper.

The Russian leader, on his first visit to Vietnam since 2017 when he participated in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, said that Russia and Vietnam also share "similar assessments of the situation in the Asia-Pacific region." Vietnam's stance on the South China Sea differs from China's, which claims the strategic waterway almost entirely, including gas and oil fields within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone where Russian companies extract oil and gas.

The Russian leader attended a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace on Thursday before engaging in bilateral talks with Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong. He will also meet with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Vietnamese who studied in Russia.

Putin will also attend a state banquet.

Ceremony welcoming Putin in Vietnam© Baku TV | RU / Youtube channel

Given his isolation on the international stage, Putin seeks to gain support from Russia's remaining allies, reports RFE/RL.

In Hanoi, talks were held between the presidents of Russia and Vietnam, Vladimir Putin and To Lam, reported pro-Putin RIA Novosti. The summit lasted about an hour and a half. The parties exchanged signed bilateral documents, and the heads of state made statements to the media.

The talks were successful, according to the host's statement reported by Russian media, with "sincere opinions exchanged on many areas of cooperation, international and regional issues." "Vietnam will host Putin at the risk of angering the West": There are two reasons to roll out the red carpet for the Russian president.

The Russian leader highlighted that considerable attention was given to trade and investment cooperation. Regarding international issues, the President of Vietnam emphasized that his country advocates for an equal and indivisible security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region, based on international law.

Russia is considered one of Vietnam's priority partners

"We want, together with Russia, to develop traditionally friendly relations, built by many generations, from the leaders of our two countries," said To Lam. He added that Moscow and Hanoi agreed not to "enter alliances aimed against others." "When I say warm, I do not just mean the temperature outside but also the warmth with which the residents of Hanoi greet our delegation on the streets.

I want to convey my sincerest greetings to them using this opportunity," added the Russian president. He said that it is important to consistently transition to settlements in national currencies. Last year, such transactions accounted for more than 40 percent of the volume of bilateral commercial transactions, and in the first quarter of this year—almost 60 percent, it was noted.

The meeting took place in the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, the official residence of the Vietnamese president. The four-story building was constructed in the early twentieth century in the Italian neo-Renaissance style.

Agreed on "much more weaponry" with North Korea

The Russian leader came to Hanoi on a state visit from Pyongyang.

In July 2022, North Korea recognized the puppet republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which Russia occupied. According to the governments of the United States and South Korea, Kim provided Russia with dozens of ballistic missiles—some remnants of which were allegedly found in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine—and over 11,000 containers of ammunition, containing millions of artillery shells.

In return, or at least so believe the Western countries, Putin is helping Kim advance his nuclear, missile, and space technology. This growing relationship involves much more than weapons. Putin mentioned this in an article published by North Korean state media.

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