Putin Emphasizes Strategic Ties on Vietnam Visit Amid Western Criticism

Russian President Vladimir Putin underscored the importance of strengthening strategic ties during his state visit to Vietnam on Thursday, amidst Western criticism over his diplomatic engagements in Asia.

Putin, continuing his tour through Asia after signing a mutual defense agreement with North Korea, highlighted Moscow and Hanoi’s mutual desire to establish a robust security framework in the Asia-Pacific region. The visit also aimed at expanding Russian investments in Vietnam’s energy sector.

Despite describing the visit as part of a “comprehensive strategic partnership” akin to Vietnam’s relations with the US and China, Putin’s presence drew condemnation from Western allies of Hanoi. They voiced objections against providing a platform for Putin to defend Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

During a military ceremony that included a 21-gun salute, Putin was warmly received by Vietnamese leaders, including President To Lam, who congratulated Putin on his recent re-election and praised Russia’s political stability.

The visit culminated in the signing of 11 agreements and memorandums of understanding, encompassing sectors such as oil, gas, nuclear science, and education.

Putin also expressed his respect for dialogue with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where Vietnam plays an active role.

Earlier criticisms from the United States and the European Union highlighted Vietnam’s hosting of Putin as controversial, given ongoing Western sanctions against Russia and allegations of war crimes in Ukraine. Both the US and EU underscored that providing a platform for Putin undermined international norms and the rule of law.

Putin’s visit to Vietnam concludes his recent diplomatic engagements in Asia, which also included a visit to China. His actions continue to attract international scrutiny amidst ongoing geopolitical tensions.

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