National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (NA) chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan attended a plenary session of the Federation Council of Russia and delivered a speech on Wednesday, affirming the traditional friendship and cooperation with Russia as a priceless asset that Vietnam was determined to treasure.
Addressing the session, held during her official visit to Russia, the top legislator said almost 70 years ago, on January 30, 1950, the then-Soviet Union set up diplomatic relations with Vietnam, becoming one of the first countries to do so.
She recalled the strong support the Soviet Union gave to Vietnam during the struggle to defend and reunify the nation and said Vietnam would always remember and respect the wholehearted assistance offered by the Soviet Union’s people for its fight for national independence and reunification.
She also attributed the reconstruction and development of Vietnam partly to solid ties with Russia, noting that the Soviet Union and Russia had helped the country train tens of thousands of cadres and build major structures that were important to Vietnam’s socio-economic development.
Bilateral relations were lifted to a strategic partnership in 2001, and a comprehensive strategic partnership – the highest relationship framework for Vietnam – in 2012, marking a breakthrough development in the countries’ connections, she said.
On that basis, Vietnam-Russia ties had enjoyed strong strides, the chairwoman said, highlighting political trust and cooperation mechanisms established in all fields.
Economic links had been growing, with bilateral trade hitting a record $4.5 billion last year and $3.4 billion in the first nine months of this year, Ngan said.
The NA leader said Vietnam was the first country to sign a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, of which Russia is a key member. Additionally, bilateral investment had continued to expand with many large projects, including oil and gas.
She said cooperation in defence and security had increased while people-to-people exchanges had also been enhanced, and more young Vietnamese had chosen Russia to study in.
Meanwhile, Vietnam remained a popular destination for Russian tourists with more than 600,000 people from Russia visiting the Southeast Asian nation last year, and that figure reached 500,000 in the first nine months of this year, she added.
It was hard to find another country that the Vietnamese people held such a profound sentiment for like Russia, and this was shown not only through political and economic partnerships but also cultural exchanges and connectivity, Ngan noted.
The Vietnamese leader went on to say the sound relations between the two countries had helped parliamentary cooperation to grow.
During a trip to Vietnam in December last year by State Duma chairman Vyacheslav V Volodin, the two sides inked a cooperation agreement on the establishment of an inter-parliamentary cooperation committee between the Vietnamese NA and the State Duma of Russia. This committee was the highest form of cooperation of the Vietnamese legislature, Ngan said.
The State Duma is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia.
She emphasised that amid complex developments and potential risks in the international arena, the continued enhancement of the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership was not only an objective requirement but also the aspiration of the two countries’ leaders and peoples. It also ensured the success of each nation’s reforms and development, while contributing to peace, stability, cooperation, development and prosperity in the region and the world.
Ngan underlined Vietnam’s appreciation of Russia’s stance on the East Sea issue, which was supporting the peaceful settlement of disputes based on international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to help maintain peace, stability, freedom, safety and security of navigation and overflight in the East Sea.
Russia is also supporting the full and serious implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and the early finalisation of a Code of Conduct in the waters, she said.
She repeated Party General Secretary, State President Nguyen Phu Trong’s statement that Vietnam’s consistent policy was to always attach importance to and further strengthen its comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia, and considered Russia one of its leading partners. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin also described Vietnam as a leading partner of his country in the Asia-Pacific region.
As chair of Asean and the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (Aipa) next year, Vietnam would continue reinforcing the strategic partnership between Asean and Russia and help promote Russia’s voice and stature in the region, she noted, adding that as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021, it would also work closely with Russia.
The NA leader expressed her belief that the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership would continue to develop and overcome challenges to match their long-standing friendship.
In that process, their parliaments would continue to play a crucial role in forming favourable legal frameworks, increasing supervision and stepping up the implementation of cooperation agreements and projects, she said.
They would also coordinate more closely at international inter-parliamentary forums for the sake of the two peoples, as well as for peace, cooperation, development and prosperity in the region and the world, she added.
NA Chairwoman Ngan’s speech was broadcast live on the TV channel of the Federation Council.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK