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Russia opposes militarization of sea disputes, continues arms support for Vietnam

Tuesday, December 29, 2015, 10:43 GMT+7
Russia opposes militarization of sea disputes, continues arms support for Vietnam
Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Konstantin Vasilievich Vnukov (L) is seen at the press conference in Hanoi on December 28, 2015.

Russia has expressed its opposition to the militarization of the East Vietnam Sea situation and will keep providing military assistance for Vietnam in the future.

Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Konstantin Vasilievich Vnukov hosted a press conference in Hanoi on Monday to review the results of the two countries’ comprehensive cooperation in 2015.

Russia has every reason to consider Vietnam an essential link in the country’s effort to cement ties with the region, primarily the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ASEAN is a ten-member organization that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Russia objects to the militarization of the issues in the East Vietnam Sea and promises to work with Vietnam and relevant countries to settle the disputes in a peaceful manner, Ambassador Vnukov said.

Moscow is interested in the development of peace and stability in the East Vietnam Sea because several Russian oil companies are operating in the maritime area, he explained.

The ambassador highlighted Russia’s military assistance for Vietnam in recent years, namely the high-end weaponry for the Southeast Asian country’s navy, including submarines and fighter jets, the likes of which have been deployed in Russia’s battles against terrorists in Syria.

The fifth Russian-made Kilo-class submarine is being transferred to Vietnam, the diplomat said, adding that new arms sale contracts will be signed by the two parties in 2016.

Vietnam clinched a deal in 2009 to buy six Kilo-class subs from Russia.

Vietnam and Russia have established great strategic trust, and Moscow will always support Hanoi’s stance and legitimate interests in accordance with international law as well as widely accepted standards, Professor Tran Viet Thai from the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

“The fact that Vietnam gains Russia’s political trust and support is of great significance, as 90 percent of Vietnamese military equipment is supplied by Russia,” Prof. Thai said.

The problems regarding the illegal labor of Vietnamese in Russia was also mentioned during the conference.

Governments of the two nations have reached agreement on establishing an industrial park in Moscow that will house several garment factories providing legal jobs for the overseas Vietnamese there, according to Ambassador Vnukov.

“The solution is to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of the Vietnamese workforce. The free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union will create more opportunities to address this matter,” the diplomat said.  

Vietnam and China are entangled in a conflict over sovereignty over islands in the East Vietnam Sea, nearly all of which is claimed by Beijing.

Taiwan, Brunei, the Philippines and Malaysia are the other claimants to the sea, with Manila already taking Beijing to an international tribunal.  

The tension between Hanoi and Beijing intensified as China unlawfully placed an oil rig in Vietnamese waters in 2014, leading to several collisions between Vietnamese and Chinese ships.

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