Putin’s State Visit To Vietnam Is Faced By Criticism From The US

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After agreeing to a defense deal with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Vladimir Putin has made his way to Vietnam, the last country on his two-nation trip to Asia, to hold meetings with its communist leaders. As the Russian president’s jet landed at Hanoi airport, leading party diplomat Le Hoai Trung and Tran Hong Ha, the Vietnamese deputy prime minister, welcomed him with a red carpet. Vietnam has been preparing for Putin’s first state visit since 2017, yet the US, its main trading partner, is not happy about the trip.

Defense Cooperation With Ukraine

Putin was to meet with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, State President To Lam, and Communist Party head Nguyen Phu Trong. The embalmed body of Vietnam’s founding leader is housed in the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where the leader of Russia was also scheduled to attend wreath-laying ceremonies. According to Russian officials, the main topics of Putin’s visit will be energy, education, and the economy.

In 2022, trade between the two nations was only $3.5 billion, a negligible amount compared to Vietnam’s $175 billion in trade with China & $123 billion with the US. However, analysts predict that in secret, discussions for defense cooperation with Ukraine will probably take place.

Since the 1950s, Russia & Vietnam have maintained close relations, with Moscow serving as Hanoi’s primary source of armaments for many years. Putin praised Vietnam for its support of “a practical way to fix the crisis” in Ukraine in an opinion article written just in time for his visit.

As part of its stated neutral foreign policy, Vietnam has refrained from denouncing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, a move that some Western nations see as being excessively kind towards the Kremlin. In an article that appeared in the Communist party daily in Vietnam, Nhan Dan, Putin not only commended Vietnam for its stance on the conflict in Ukraine but also mentioned advancements in trade, energy, and payments between the two nations.

No Country Should Provide Putin with An Opportunity

While North Korea & Russia are isolated internationally, Vietnam has carefully formed partnerships with the United States and the European Union. Putin’s visit was opposed by the US, which last year improved diplomatic ties with Hanoi and is now Vietnam’s largest export market. A spokesperson for the US embassy in Hanoi stated last week that “no country should provide Putin with an opportunity to further his war of aggression, & otherwise let him normalize his atrocities.”

The Russian president’s journey to Vietnam comes after a high-profile trip to Pyongyang, when he and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, inked a mutual defense treaty. A provision in the deal that calls for the nations to support one another in the event of an attack has the West concerned about possible Russian support for North Korea’s nuclear or missile development.

In an effort to lessen American reliance on China, US President Joe Biden traveled to Hanoi in September to foster relations as his administration works to establish Vietnam as a substitute supplier of vital high-tech components. Beijing moved quickly to follow suit, and in less than three months, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit of his own.

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