Vietnam accused of giving Vladimir Putin ‘a platform’ as he arrives for state visit

Vietnam accused of giving Vladimir Putin ‘a platform’ as he arrives for state visit

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Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived in Vietnam on his second stop during his East Asia tour as the isolated European leader sought alliances under heavy sanctions for his war on Ukraine.

Mr Putin is rekindling historic partnership with Vietnam with ties going back to the Soviet Union in a desperate need to strengthen diplomatic support in Asia.

He landed at the Hanoi airport on Wednesday night to be welcomed by Vietnamese deputy prime minister Tran Hong Ha and shook hands with scores of Vietnamese officials who were present to greet the Russian leader.

Before he flew out Mr Putin had hailed Vietnam for its balanced position on its war in Ukraine.

Fresh from a rare meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, Mr Putin is seeking to strengthen ties with long-time partner Vietnam.

The Russian leader signed an agreement with North Korea that pledges mutual aid in the event of war. The strategic pact, which could mark the strongest connection between Moscow and Pyongyang since the end of the Cold War, comes as both face escalating standoffs with the West.

In Hanoi, the Russian leader is set to meet Vietnam’s top politician, Communist Party general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, the new president To Lam, and other officials.

Vietnamese President To Lam (C-L) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (C-R) review the guard of honor at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam
Vietnamese President To Lam (C-L) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (C-R) review the guard of honor at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam (EPA)

Mr Putin’s trip to Vietnam has drawn sharp criticism from the US which has warned partners and allies against giving platform to the Russian leader, who is believed to be ramping up efforts to legitimise its war in Ukraine.

The US embassy in Hanoi said: “No country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities.”

According to Russian officials, Mr Putin’s visit will focus on the topic of economy, education and energy.

The bilateral trade between the two countries remained at $3.5bn in 2022 while China and the US have emerged as major trade partners.

Vladimir Putin praises Vietnam for balanced position on Ukraine war
Vladimir Putin praises Vietnam for balanced position on Ukraine war (AFP via Getty Images)

In an article written for Nhan Dan, the official newspaper of Vietnam’s Communist Party, Mr Putin vowed to deepen the ties between Moscow and Hanoi.

He hailed Vietnam as a “strong supporter of a fair world order based on international law, on the principles of equality of all states and non-interference in their domestic affairs”.

He also thanked “Vietnamese friends for their balanced position on the Ukrainian crisis” in the article released by the Kremlin.

While North and Russia the two pariah countries facing international isolation were more vociferous in their support for each other Hanoi is walking a tightrope walk as it is trying to build delicate alliances with the US and the EU.

Vietnam has remained neutral on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The country has also seen upgraded diplomatic ties with the US with president Joe Biden’s visit to Hanoi to deepen cooperation between the United States and Vietnam.

Additional reporting by agencies

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