Putin praised Vietnam and signed a series of agreements during his visit to Hanoi: what is the dictator's main goal?

Ivanna ShepelWorld
Putin arrives on an official visit to Vietnam

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has completed a state visit to North Korea and arrived in Vietnam on Thursday morning, seeking to strengthen partnerships between the two countries. During Putin's visit, Russia and Vietnam signed a number of documents on cooperation in various fields.

In particular, agreements were signed on cooperation in education and a memorandum on the schedule for establishing a nuclear technology center in Vietnam, as reported by the Russian media. In addition, after his talks with Putin, Vietnamese President To Lam said that Russia and Vietnam would increase cooperation in defense and security.

Putin praised Vietnam and signed a series of agreements during his visit to Hanoi: what is the dictator's main goal?

Putin thanked Vietnam for its hospitality and warm welcome. After meeting with the Vietnamese president, he also met with the prime minister, calling the republic "one of Russia's most reliable partners."

The Kremlin leader also recalled the assistance that the USSR provided to Vietnam "in the fight against the French and American invaders."

"It is important that Vietnam also remembers this and appreciates the memory," the Russian dictator added.

In addition, during the visit, Putin said that Russia is ready to establish long-term direct supplies of hydrocarbons to Vietnam, including liquefied natural gas.

What is the main purpose of the dictator's visit to Hanoi?

According to The New York Times, the purpose of Putin's visit to Vietnam was to meet with officials in the country, which has recently strengthened ties with Washington. As Moscow has long been Hanoi's main arms supplier, Putin is keen to maintain this position.

This is Putin's fifth visit to Vietnam, following last year's trips by Biden and Xi Jinping, who sought guarantees of neutrality from Hanoi. For Vietnam, Putin's trip is an opportunity to strengthen ties with Russia, its most important defense partner. Despite improving relations with the United States, last year Vietnam still sought covert ways to acquire Russian military equipment in defiance of U.S. sanctions.

Washington criticized Hanoi for inviting the Russian leader, saying: "No country should give Putin a platform to advance his war of aggression and normalize his atrocities." However, this week, Vietnam's newly appointed President To Lam told a Russian representative that Hanoi "considers Russia to be one of the priority partners in its foreign policy.

Ties with Moscow are important to Hanoi for two reasons: Russia is the largest supplier of military equipment to Vietnam, and Russian companies help extract oil and gas in the South China Sea, preserving Vietnam's sovereignty over a number of disputed areas claimed by China.

At the same time, the United States has been actively offering more weapons to Vietnam, and in recent months, high-ranking American officials have visited the country. However, analysts note that Vietnam's top defense officials remain suspicious of Washington. They are reluctant to tie their fate to a country where arms sales depend on Congress, which could make the deal contingent on human rights.

As for Russia, both countries have joint ventures in the oil sector. Russia has a significant stake in Vietnam's lucrative oil and gas industry. Vietsovpetro, a joint venture between Russia's Zarubezhneft and Vietnam's state-owned PetroVietnam, operates Vietnam's largest oil field, Bach Ho. These projects are important for Moscow, as Russian oil and gas exports to Europe have plummeted since the imposition of sanctions by the European Union. However, such projects are a source of dissatisfaction for Beijing, as they are carried out in waters that China considers its territory.

Earlier, ISW analysts explained that the dictatorial governments of the aggressor country Russia and North Korea formulated the agreement as proof of their mutual support in the joint struggle against Western countries. In this way, they showed that they both share a common goal of challenging the West and the current world order. In particular, both dictators signed a document that provides for mutual military assistance in the event of "aggression" against one of the participants.

Yaroslav Chornohor, Director of the Russian and Belarusian Studies Program at the Ukrainian Prism think tank, believes that the agreement with Kim Jong-un will not have global consequences for Putin. At the same time, any ties with other countries play to strengthen Russia.

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