Vietnam president tells Russia’s Putin he wants to boost ties

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Russian President Vladimir Putin was welcomed in Vietnam with a 21-gun salute during a military ceremony on Thursday, as one of the Communist-run country’s top leaders hailed a comprehensive strategic partnership with Moscow and vowed to boost ties.

Vietnamese President To Lam congratulated Putin on his re-election and praised Russia’s achievements, including “domestic political stability”, as the two met in Hanoi.

“Once again, congratulations to our comrade for receiving overwhelming support during the recent presidential election, underlining the confidence of the Russian people,” Lam said

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Putin responded by saying strengthening a comprehensive strategic partnership with Vietnam was one of Russia’s priorities.

The Russian leader said he respected dialogue with the regional bloc, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in which he said Vietnam played an active role.

Putin, who arrived in the early hours on Thursday, is on the final stop of his two-nation tour of Asia after concluding a defense pact with North Korea.

Vietnam’s hosting of Putin has drawn criticism from key partner the United States, which upgraded diplomatic relations with Hanoi last year and is Vietnam’s top export market.

A US embassy statement earlier in the week said no country should be giving Putin a platform to promote Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Russia was hit with US-led Western sanctions after it invaded Ukraine in February 2022 in what Moscow calls a “special military operation”. In March 2023, the Hague-based International Criminal Court’s issued an arrest warrant for Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, charges he denies.

Neither Vietnam nor Russia are members of the ICC.

The Southeast Asian country will be the third nation Putin has visited, after China and North Korea, since he was sworn in for a fifth term in May.

Read more:

Vietnam leaders host Putin in nod to old ties, risking ire of West

Vietnam’s Hanoi residents praise Putin as ‘world leader, ‘idol’ ahead of visit

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