President of Vietnam Nguyen Minh Triet (Translated from Russian): Mr President, friends and colleagues,
I am happy to say that President Vladimir Putin and I have just successfully concluded our talks. In an atmosphere of friendship, openness and understanding, President Putin and I analysed the development of our bilateral relations over these last years and discussed and agreed on the areas of work and concrete steps to take to further develop and increase the effectiveness of the multifaceted cooperation between Russia and Vietnam in the spirit of strategic partnership, equality and mutual benefit. We informed each other on the situation in our respective countries and exchanged views on international and regional issues of mutual interest.
Relations between our two countries have been developing successfully over the five years since the signing of the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between Vietnam and the Russian Federation. We share similar positions on almost all international and regional issues and work together and support each other in our work on the international stage, making our contribution to the cause of peace, stability and progress in the Asia-Pacific region and throughout the world.
Our two countries have excellent political relations and we have a well-organised mechanism for exchanging visits both at top level and at ministerial and agency level. Bilateral trade is increasing steadily. The joint oil exploration and production company Vietsovpetro, which is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, is a symbol of cooperation between our countries. We have agreed to look for new opportunities to increase trade and even out the trade balance, and we have agreed to expand our cooperation in traditional areas such as the oil and gas and energy sectors, and also to develop new areas of cooperation such as the coal, chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors, transport, communications, information technology and so on. We will also increase our cooperation in education, specialist training and cultural exchanges.
As you saw, we have just signed a number of agreements in different areas – in the oil and gas sector, in protecting intellectual property rights, the tourism sector and so on. These agreements, especially the declaration on continued cooperation in oil prospecting and production, will form a new foundation for activating the ties between our two countries. We are certain that implementing these agreements will help develop the multifaceted cooperation between our countries and make a worthy contribution to the development of both Vietnam and Russia. This is in the interests of our peoples and our countries.
Thank you, Mr President, and I now give you the floor.
President Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
We have just held a detailed discussion on the entire range of our bilateral relations.
Over the five years since the signature of the Declaration on Strategic Partnership, our relations have reached a new level of quality.
The close positions we share on the international stage enable us to work together effectively.
Our bilateral economic ties are expanding and new opportunities for economic and investment cooperation are opening up all the time. Last year we reached a figure of $1 billion – a record figure over all these last years of our economic cooperation. We do indeed have excellent prospects for cooperation in a diverse range of sectors including the mining industry, minerals prospecting, telecommunications, the metals sector, agribusiness and transport.
We expect that active development of direct ties between our respective business communities and ties between our countries’ regions will have a big impact. We will facilitate this process by taking every step necessary to strengthen the legal foundation, build up infrastructure and develop the tools we need for economic cooperation.
Yesterday, we visited the newly opened Joint Russian-Vietnamese Bank. We hope that its work will make the banking settlements system more efficient and ensure reliable credit guarantees and insurance for deals.
Our cooperation in the energy sector deserves a few words in particular.
The undisputed leader in this area is the joint venture, Vietsovpetro. You were present today at the ceremony awarding state decorations to a number of this company’s personnel from both Vietnam and Russia. I think they all deserve the highest praise. Given the success this company has had so far, I think it would be useful and mutually beneficial for it to continue its activities even once the current agreement expires.
This is precisely the decision set out in the joint declaration on continued cooperation in geological prospecting and oil and gas production that we have just signed today.
But our cooperation in the energy sector does not end here. Russian companies are actively involved in modernising and building energy facilities in Vietnam. We are ready not only to continue this kind of cooperation but also to expand it, including in the nuclear energy sector.
Of course, humanitarian cooperation is also an area that came in for our attention and we plan to take active steps to develop youth, and academic and cultural exchanges.
During our talks today we also paid considerable attention to international issues and exchanged views on international cooperation in education, healthcare and the prevention and cleanup of natural and technological disasters.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Mr Nguyen Minh Triet for his constructive and businesslike approach that has enabled us to reach concrete coordinated decisions. It was with pleasure that I have invited the President to come to Russia on an official visit in order to continue this direct dialogue between us.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again express my most sincere respect for the Vietnamese people and wish your country peace and prosperity. I would like to thank you, thank your colleagues and thank everyone who welcomed us so warmly on the streets of this city, for the attention we have received.
Thank you for your attention.
Question: This is a question for President Putin. This year, Russia played host to the G8 summit, while Vietnam has just hosted the APEC summit. These were both important events for our countries. What similarities do you see between Russia’s presidency of the G8 and Vietnam’s presidency of APEC?
And a question for the Vietnamese President if I may: Mr President, the Russian delegation included a large number of bankers. Yesterday you opened the Russian-Vietnamese Bank. Why do you think Russia’s banking elite is showing such active interest in Vietnam? Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, Russia is indeed presiding over the G8 this year and Vietnam holds the presidency of APEC. If we look at the agenda for both summits, we see that they correspond very closely, at least as far as substance goes. The difference between them lies only in the issues directly relevant to the organisations in question. But these similarities show that Vietnam, the Russian Federation and their partners are focusing their attention today on the most important development issues, that is, the fight against terrorism, energy security and the state of the world economy today. We are happy with the results of the APEC summit and I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to our Vietnamese friends for their outstanding organisation of this event.
Nguyen Minh Triet: Thank you for this very interesting question. Cooperation between our countries has been developing very successfully in many different areas – in the political, economic and defence spheres, in security and in the area of cultural exchanges.
Our political relations have been developing particularly successfully and our trade and economic ties are also growing.
Vietnam welcomes more active investment by Russian companies in the Vietnamese economy and highly values their economic and technological possibilities. We welcome them and expect to see an increase in Russian investment in our economy.
Carrying out settlements between our respective business communities remains a complicated problem. The creation and the opening yesterday of our new Joint Russian-Vietnamese Bank will help to develop trade and economic ties between our countries. The initial capital is modest, but we think that this capital will increase considerably over time. We want this bank to be not just successful in its economic activities, but also to become another symbol of our friendship and cooperation. I therefore ask the bank to take an active part, in accordance with Vietnamese and Russian legislation, in providing practical and timely support for the development of our trade and economic ties, and in helping business organisations in both countries. President Putin and I visited the bank yesterday in order to demonstrate our support for it and give some instructions for its activities.
When President Putin arrived at the bank, people from throughout the whole district gathered all around. This was a completely unplanned gathering. They came of their own accord, many of them, lined the streets, climbed up onto the roofs of buildings, called out Vladimir Putin’s name and waved to him. I was very happy to see this because it testifies to the great friendship between our countries and our peoples.
I would once again like to wish the bank success in its work.
Question: This is a question for Mr Putin. During your last visit to Vietnam in 2001, you laid the foundations for strategic cooperation between our two countries. What is your assessment of the development in our relations since then? What has been achieved? And what is your assessment of the areas in which we have been cooperating over this time?
Vladimir Putin: The first visit took place in 2001, and at that time our objective was to expand our trade and economic ties. We can say quite confidently that we have reached our goal. Our trade and economic ties have increased not by mere percentage points, but have tripled over this period. Incidentally, this is what explains the interest our financial and banking institutions are showing in the Vietnamese market. They are interested because the client base and volume of cooperation is growing.
Our meeting today focused above all on continuing to develop these trade and economic ties. Our objective now is to diversify our relations, above all by expanding into science-intensive products, products from the machine-building sector, communications services, space activity and, of course, investment. The Russian economy and Russian companies have considerable possibilities today and I hope that there will be demand for this in cooperation with our traditional partners and friends in Vietnam.
I would like to thank our partners and to thank you, Mr President, not only for the friendly and hospitable spirit of today’s talks, but also for your very businesslike approach to the issues discussed.
As for the investment we are discussing, if these projects go ahead, this will mean investment worth billions of dollars in the Vietnamese economy. So, let’s go ahead and start woking on this.