Russia to help train Vietnamese navy

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Russia will equip Vietnam with military training, especially naval guidance, Vietnam's Minister of Defense General Phung Quang Thanh told the media on Tuesday.

General Thanh also said that Vietnam would continue to purchase military weaponry from Russia.

Thanh made the statements at a press conference following a dialogue with his Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu Kuzugetovich earlier in the day, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

He praised Kuzugetovich's visit and stressed that it demonstrates the good relationship between the two countries, as well as promotes bilateral military cooperation.

Vietnam will continue to invite experts from Russia and other countries which were part of the former Soviet Union, which have supported Vietnam in the past, to visit the country to witness the accomplishments and tightening of friendships that have taken place under Doi Moi, the economic reforms the country initiated in 1986, Thanh said.

Kuzugetovich expressed a willingness to cooperate with Vietnam in various fields of defense and stressed naval, air defense and air force ties.

Russia will help Vietnam train sailors and build new ships, he said.

Kuzugetovich visited Vietnam from March 4-5.

He visited the Cam Ranh Bay in Khanh Hoa Province Tuesday.

Cam Ranh Port was used by the US for military purposes during the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975. After the war, Vietnam and the Soviet Union signed an agreement in 1979 that allowed the latter to use Cam Ranh as a base. Russia withdrew its forces in 2002.

Cam Ranh Bay is about 13 kilometers from the open sea with a width of up to ten kilometers and a depth of 18-30 meters. The estuary is three kilometers wide and 20 meters deep, capable of receiving ships of more than 100,000 DWT (dead weight tonnage).

It is strategically located near key shipping lanes in the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea, and is close to the strategically important and oil-rich Truong Sa (Spratlys) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes.

The bay is about one hour from the nearest international shipping lane, and thus has a key advantage over two other Vietnamese ports - Vung Tau, which is three hours from international shipping lanes and Hai Phong, which is eight hours away.


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