Visit of Vietnamese leader to Moscow aims at strengthening strategic partnership between the two countries

The main objective of the visit of Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh to Russia is further specification of strategic partnership between the two countries.

Vice-premier of the government of Vietnam Vu Khoan made this statement to Russian journalists on the eve of the Vietnamese leader's visit scheduled for October 9.

"The situation in the Asia-Pacific region requires constant attention. Our views on many issues coincide and it is necessary to coordinate our actions to contribute to strengthening peace in Asia and in the whole world," he noted.

Vu Khoan stressed that there are issues in bilateral relations which require settlement at the summit level. He noted that cooperation on the whole develops in all the directions, but there are many unused reserves.

Trade and economic relations remain a priority in bilateral contacts, Vu Khoan stated. "Russia is a country with a great potential. Still, it is abnormal that the commodity turnover between Russia and Vietnam amounts to about USD 500 million a year, while that with the USA constitutes USD 1.5 billion and with China - USD 3 billion," the vice-premier noted.

According to Vu Khoan, the period of stagnation in Russian-Vietnamese relation belongs to the past. One of the examples, which prove the fact, is joint work to explore and produce oil and gas. It provides a substantial income for both countries. The situation is good in the energy sector, where a number of joint facilities have been commissioned. Nevertheless, the value of bilateral cooperation is still humble, Vu Khoan said. In the course of the visit to Russia we plan to consider more specifically possibilities of strengthening our cooperation in the oil-and-gas sphere and in the energy sector, he noted. "We have many electric-power plants built with the USSR assistance. They continue operating and we will modernise them," Vu Khoan reported.

"But today our main task is construction of new modern and powerful energy objects, in which Russia can assist us effectively by delivering equipment and technologies, in particular," the vice-premier stressed.

He also reported that the Vietnamese side would also like to work out an issue of increasing the number of Vietnamese students and post-graduates to be trained in Russia, since Vietnam highly appraises the Russian education system.

Vu Khoan recollected that President Vladimir Putin of Russia visited Vietnam in spring of 2001. "The visit by Putin I would call historical in all respects," the vice-premier stated. It was the first time that the head of the Russian state came to Vietnam. Incidentally, this happened at the start of a new millennium, at the time when our countries going along the path of reforms draw the plans of further development.

The programme of the visit, which will be held on President Putin's invitation, includes a meeting between Nong Duc Manh and Russian leaders. Apart from Moscow the Vietnamese guest will visit St. Petersburg, where he wants to see, in particular, the forestry engineering institute, which he graduated from 1971.