Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday kicked off an official visit to Russia as both nations prepare to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties (1950-2020) with a series of events.
After landing in Saint Petersburg, the Vietnamese PM is scheduled to meet with leaders of Russian state gas producer Gazprom the same day to discuss cooperation in the oil and gas industry, according to the foreign ministry.
He will also hold a meeting with acting Saint Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov and pay visits to Russian cruiser Aurora and the Winter Palace.
A state reception for PM Phuc will be held in Moscow on Tuesday afternoon.
The visit, lasting from May 20 to 23, shows that Vietnam treasures the traditional friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia, and wishes to strengthen all-round cooperation, especially in economy, trade and investment, the Vietnam News Agency reported on Sunday.
It takes place in the context that both nations will organize the Vietnam Year in Russia and Russia Year in Vietnam in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
It is part of PM Phuc’s planned Europe trip from May 20 to 29, which includes stops in Norway and Sweden.
Russia was one of the first nations to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam on January 30, 1950. The countries set up their strategic partnership in 2001, and upgraded the ties to the comprehensive strategic partnership in 2012. Two-way trade topped US$4.5 billion last year, a significant increase from $2.7 billion in 2016.
In the first two months of 2019, bilateral trade stood at $790 million, up 9.4 percent year-on-year.
Vietnam’s major exports to Russia include phones, garments and textiles, and agro-fishery products, while Russia ships petroleum, steel, fertilizers, machines and equipment to the Southeast Asian nation.
As of February 2019, Russia ranked 24th among the world’s largest investors in Vietnam with 127 projects worth over $950 million, mainly in such areas as mining, oil and gas, processing and manufacturing.
Meanwhile, Vietnam has run more than 20 projects in Russia with a total capital of nearly $3 billion.
More than 5,000 Vietnamese students are currently enrolled in schools in Russia.
Russia is one of Vietnam’s top ten markets for tourism and the largest one from Europe.
Last year, more than 606,000 Russian tourists arrived in Vietnam, up from 176,000 in 2012.