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Russia and Vietnam – Towards New Horizons of Cooperation

October 30, 2010

Dmitry Medvedev's article in Nhan Dan Newspaper.

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear friends,

Today I begin my first official visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and I hope it will produce serious results. I note too that an important multilateral event – the ASEAN-Russia summit – is taking place in Hanoi on the eve of this visit. We are sincerely grateful to Vietnam’s leadership for the big contribution to organising this summit.

On the eve of my arrival I would like to share some thoughts on the cooperation prospects for Russia and Vietnam. 2010 is a symbolic year for our countries. In January we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations. We celebrated together the anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. This year, the 65th anniversary of Vietnam’s independence, the 35th anniversary of Vietnamese reunification, and Hanoi’s 1000th anniversary celebrations are also important dates for your people.

Our countries share strong and longstanding bonds of friendship. We were together with the heroic Vietnamese people in their struggle for independence and reunification, and during the difficult period of rebuilding the national economy. There are not so many countries in the world that have absolutely no negative pages in their shared histories. Russia genuinely treasures the experience of fruitful cooperation we have built up and values your people’s courage, talent and hardworking nature. It means a lot to us too that people in Vietnam have warm feelings towards the Russian people. 

The situation in the world has changed considerably over the last decades. New productive forms of cooperation are developing actively. At the same time, the international community also faces serious new challenges. Our common task in this new world is to make effective use of our bilateral relations’ unique potential in order to resolve the tasks our countries have before them, and resolve broader international tasks too. We need to create new advantages out of the many years of economic cooperation and other forms of work together that we have. We need to take our bilateral relations to a new level that fully corresponds to our countries’ possibilities.

I am pleased to see that the Vietnamese leadership understands and supports this approach. This was confirmed during my talks with President of Vietnam Nguyen Minh Triet in October 2008, with Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Tan Dung in December 2009, and with General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party Nong Duc Manh in July this year.

Vietnam is one of Russia’s strategic partners in the Asia-Pacific region. Our cooperation is on the rise now, and one of the underlying factors for this is that we have similar national economic objectives.

Russia is taking part in the ambitious project to develop the nuclear energy industry in Vietnam. This is work that will unfold over decades and will promote innovative development in both countries. Russia has unique modern technology in nuclear energy and has built up vast experience of building these kinds of facilities. I am sure that developing this sector in Vietnam will have a positive effect on national economic growth and your country’s image in the world. 

We place much importance on traditional energy too. A number of Russian companies (Power Machines, Gidroproekt Institute, and INTER RAO UES) are studying the possibilities for taking part in designing and building new generating facilities and modernising existing energy facilities in Vietnam.

We are opening a new page in the oil and gas sector too, in which the joint company Vietsovpetro has been a recognised leader for decades now. This company was set up in 1981 as a cooperation project, and today, with Russian company Zarubezhneft as its main Russian participant, is developing rapidly. There are many promising hydrocarbons exploration and development projects. In particular, OOO Joint Company Rusvietpetro has already begun development of a field in the Nenets Autonomous Area. Vietnam is thus one of the few foreign countries involved in oil production on Russian soil. This is a sign of the great trust between our countries. We also support mutually advantageous expansion of cooperation between Gazprom and Petrovietnam, and they have set up a joint venture, Gazpromviet, in Russia.

We are seeing good growth in other sectors too, including in telecommunications, machine-building, oil refineries, non-ferrous metals, the space sector, and banking.

Our cooperation is developing successfully in education and professional training, traditional areas for cooperation between our countries. Tens of thousands of Vietnamese citizens have received education in Russia over the years.

I have personal recollections of the Vietnamese postgraduate students studying under my father’s direction at the Leningrad Institute of Technology. They often visited our home, and these warm hearted, informal meetings always remain in my memory.

We are proud that Vietnamese specialists, graduates of Soviet and Russian universities, are working in a broad range of fields, in the social and economic sector, in the humanitarian sector. They help to strengthen the cooperation between our countries. Given Vietnam’s growing demand for specialists (especially in high-technology sectors), we are ready to welcome more Vietnamese undergraduate and postgraduate students and interns in our universities and research centres. We are currently examining the question of opening a joint technological university in Vietnam.

Our ties in the humanitarian sphere are growing stronger too. Russia and Vietnam hold regular culture days and cinema weeks, performances by artistic ensembles, and organise exhibitions that all help our peoples to learn more about each other’s historical and cultural heritage and modern achievements. Inter-parliamentary contacts and people’s diplomacy are also playing an increasingly important part in our relations. Youth contacts open many new opportunities and are something we should do everything possible to encourage.

Our effective cooperation on the international stage complements our partnership and bilateral cooperation. Our countries share close or identical positions on the key issues. Russia and Vietnam consistently support a collective foundation in global politics and a polycentric international system based on international law and multilateral diplomacy with the UN playing a central part.

This approach was reflected clearly in Vietnam’s work as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2008–2009, and is also clear in Vietnam’s current presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Summing up, I want to say once more that the last six decades have been a period of truly friendly and constructive relations and cooperation for our peoples, free of opportunistic political changes. Our main common task now is to hand the baton of friendship on to the young generation, give them new opportunities, and lay the foundations for a positive bilateral agenda for long years ahead. I am sure that the upcoming visit will help us to make real progress towards this important goal.

October 30, 2010