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Meeting with President of Vietnam Vo Van Thuong

October 17, 2023, Beijing

In Beijing, Vladimir Putin met with President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Vo Van Thuong. The President of Russia has arrived in the People’s Republic of China on a working visit to take part in the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

The Russian delegation at the talks included Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, Deputy Prime Minister – Co-Chair of the Russian-Vietnamese Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office – Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev, Chairman of the VTB Bank Management Board Andrei Kostin, Director General of State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom Alexei Likhachev and NOVATEK CEO Leonid Mikhelson.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr President, friends. I am happy to see you.

First of all, I would like to ask you to convey my best wishes to the General Secretary [of the Vietnam Communist Party Central Committee].

The relations between our countries are developing in a traditionally friendly atmosphere.

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the backbone document between our countries, the Treaty on Principles of Friendly Relations. It was signed in June 1994. But the relations between Russia and Vietnam have deeper roots and there is no need to say how close our peoples are and how this connection was formed in the previous decades.

In the beginning of our meeting, I would like to speak about the foundation of our relations, the foundation of relations between any countries, which is trade and economic ties.

Unfortunately, last year we saw a certain decline in our trade and economic interaction. But this year, there is a trend towards improvement, and the growth in the first half of this year was over 6 percent. A joint intergovernmental commission is working to make trade ties develop at the pace we need. From the Russian side, it is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, who is also present here.

Since 2015, a free trade agreement between the EAEU and Vietnam has been in force, and I believe that its potential has not been fully unlocked yet.

Cultural ties are also developing. In this regard, I would like to note a very important issue that symbolises our relations: the unveiling of a monument to comrade Ho Chi Minh in St Petersburg on June 30. The unveiling was to mark the 100th anniversary of his first visit to Russia’s northern capital. The Russian Culture Days in Vietnam were also successfully held in July.

Of course, we are also actively cooperating on the global stage.

Overall, we have an extensive agenda, and we are very happy to see you. I am sure that this meeting will be efficient, constructive and fruitful.

President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Vo Van Thuong (retranslated): Mr President,

I am very happy to meet with you today as with a close and great friend of the people of Vietnam. I would like to use this occasion to wish you a belated happy birthday. I wish you good health so that you can govern Russia well, leading it to become even stronger and more powerful under your guidance.

Thank you very much for the congratulations you sent to me on my election as President of Vietnam. Thank you for the kind regards you sent to me via Comrade Medvedev, Comrade Lebedev and, quite recently, Comrade Volodin.

I would like to convey warm greetings from General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong and other supreme leaders of Vietnam.

Vietnam highly and consistently values comprehensive strategic partnership between our countries and the years-long affinity and close ties between them.

Russia is a top foreign policy priority for Vietnam. This is why we want to develop relations with your country, substantially and effectively.

The people of Vietnam will never forget the heartfelt assistance we received from the Soviet Union, Russia and Russian people at the difficult time of war and now when we are developing our country.

Many Vietnamese, including myself, hold in our hearts the picture of the beautiful Russian scenery, the Russian character and the kind Russian people. We saw and felt this when we visited Russia or studied there.

We are glad the relations between our countries have recently been developing in all areas. Despite COVID-19 and other problems, our countries maintain contacts at various levels, including at the high and top levels. These contacts help us build up mutual trust and warm, positive relations.

This year, we welcomed Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia and Chairman of the United Russia Party Dmitry Medvedev to Vietnam. We also met with Comrade [Vyacheslav] Lebedev and Deputy Prime Minister [Dmitry] Chernyshenko. And yesterday we welcomed Comrade [Vyacheslav] Volodin.

The Defence Minister, the Public Security Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam visited Russia. The symbolic event that took place in our bilateral relations this year, which you have mentioned, – the unveiling of a monument to President Ho Chi Minh in St Petersburg – was attended by Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen. I would like to note that St Petersburg and Ho Chi Minh City maintain close ties and cooperation.

We are grateful to the St Peterburg City Administration, to you personally and to the Russian authorities for helping us conduct that solemn ceremony. As I have said, it was a symbolic event in the history of relations between our countries.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong, I and other leaders of Vietnam are looking forward to your official visit to Vietnam to discuss the main aspects of cooperation between our countries. I believe that your future visit to Vietnam will be a joyful event for Vietnamese people and a landmark in our bilateral relations.

As for our trade and economic cooperation, we can report certain achievements, despite all the difficulties. They may be minor achievements and our trade is not as large as in previous years and is below our countries’ potential, but I believe that it is a successful outcome to our endeavours.

I have said this because there have been problems and challenges in the global situation over the past years. But what we have achieved is the result of our joint efforts. I would like to note that Vietnam and its government are working hard to settle these problems effectively and once and for all.

I would like to say a few words about our oil and gas cooperation. We are grateful to Russia for helping Vietnam create this sector from scratch. We achieved positive results over that period.


October 17, 2023, Beijing