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Putin Visit Helps To Shore Up Russia-Vietnam Relationship

The visit to Vietnam of Russian President Vladimir Putin has helped to shore up the relationship of the two countries in the face of a major campaign by the United States aimed at pulling Vietnam into the U.S. orbit. The U.S. and Vietnam signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement in 2023 with the visit by Biden in September of that year. The U.S. was holding out the carrot of training 50,000 Vietnamese as IT specialists and other scientific cooperation projects. Since then there has been a series of leadership ousters in Viet Nam, including the firing of a President for corruption. In May 2024, To Lam, the head of security, was made President. U.S. efforts to bring Vietnam into a campaign against China were stymied by these events. It was in this context that Putin had been invited to visit by General Secretary of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Throng. Pressure had been exerted by the U.S. State Department to prevent the visit, but it was unsuccessful.

Putin held meetings with Vietnamese Communist Party head Nguyen Phu Throng, as well as with Vietnamese President To Lam; with the Chairman of the National Assembly Tran Tanh Man; and with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. He laid a wreath at the Memorial to the Fallen Heroes and at the Memorial to Ho Chi Minh, and, in addition, spoke at a gathering of graduates of Soviet and Russian universities. They also signed a Joint Statement on the Future which deepens the strategic partnership between the two countries. In the joint press conference on June 19, Putin noted the increase in Russian-Vietnamese trade, 60% of which is now conducted in local currencies.

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