Vietnam bolsters defense cooperation with Russia, US

TN News

Email Print

Deals signed for buying subs, warplanes, nuclear plants from Russia.

Vietnam signed a major arms deal and a nuclear energy agreement with Russia on Tuesday as it seeks to further extend international relations through several visits by its top leaders to European countries and the US in the last several days, media reported.

It has agreed to buy submarines and aircraft under the deal signed by Russian state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport and Vietnam’s defense ministry in the presence of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his visiting Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung, AFP reported Tuesday.

Details of the deal were not released but Interfax news agency, citing an unnamed defense industry source, reported that Vietnam has agreed to buy six submarines for a total price tag of around US$2 billion.

The six kilo-class diesel-electric subs would be built for the Vietnamese navy at a rate of one per year, it added.

The two sides also inked a deal on the construction of Vietnam’s first atomic power plant.

Last month, the Vietnamese parliament approved building the country’s first two nuclear power stations.

The agreement was described as a memorandum on cooperation between Vietnamese electricity company EVN and Russia’s state-owned atomic energy firm Rosatom.

“Vietnam officially invites the Russian side to cooperate in the building of the first atomic energy plant in Vietnam under adherence to the necessary conditions,” Dung said, without elaborating.

Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) signed several agreements and contracts with Russia’s Gazprom and Zarubezhneft companies to explore and drill for oil and gas off the

Vietnamese coast and in Russia and third countries, Tuoi Tre reported Wednesday.

The two nations also agreed in principle to establish a $500-million fund to invest in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

The agreement between the Bank of Investment and Development of Vietnam and Russian state banking giant VTB will form the basis for further negotiations for signing a contract, Vietnam News Agency reported Wednesday.

With a minimum capital of $100 million in the first stage next year, the fund would focus on tourism, real estate, and energy projects, it said.

US cooperation

While the PM was signing the deal with Russia on Tuesday, his Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh, who is on an official visit to the US and France from December 10 to 20, held talks with his US counterpart Robert Gates in Washington.

General Thanh also met Tuesday with Democratic Senator Jim Webb, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, during his visit.

The Obama administration is prepared to consider selling at least non-lethal arms to Vietnam and Libya as security ties with each of them grow, Reuters cited a top Pentagon official as saying Monday.

With Vietnam, “we’re in the infancy of the process now,” Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa, head of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told the annual Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington.

Wieringa said a country like Vietnam with its long coastline might be interested in maritime patrol aircraft or a coastal radar system.

“The first thing that would happen would be potentially… English language training” for Vietnamese military officers, he said. The next might be the US International Military Education & Training program, which provides free training to officers from allied and friendly nations, he added.

“And then [we] would just continue to mature the relationship,” he said, with eventual arms sales “certainly possible.”

Source: Agencies

More Politics News