(HONG KONG) — Fresh off the heels of his closely-watched visit to North Korea, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Vietnamese President To Lam in Hanoi to reaffirm the Kremlin’s ties to its long-time ally Vietnam in a bid to boost trade as Russia faces growing isolation on the world stage over its invasion of Ukraine.

Putin arrived in the Vietnamese capital on Thursday morning after visiting Pyongyang, where he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and signed a controversial deal that included a mutual defense pledge to help each other in the event of aggression against either country. The State Department said deepening Russia-North Korea ties were “of great concern.”


Putin’s visit to Vietnam is widely seen as aimed at sending a signal that Russia still has friends in the region.

Lam congratulated Vietnam’s “comrade” for Putin’s recent re-election, while Putin said that one of Russia’s priorities was to strengthen ties with the Southeast Asian nation.

Putin and Lam inked several agreements to bolster economic cooperation between the two countries, whose relationship traces back decades, with the Soviet Union backing communism in the country in the 1950s.


Lam said both nations were interested in cooperating further in “defense and security to cope with non-traditional security challenges.”

Putin said they held constructive talks and that they shared “identical or very close” positions on major global issues.

The Russian President also met with Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party, and laid a wreath at the memorial of former communist leader Ho Chi Minh.


Vietnam, a manufacturing powerhouse, hosted President Joe Biden last September in a trip touted as part of the “arc of progress” between the former enemies.

Russia is Vietnam’s biggest supplier of weapons. Ahead of Putin’s visit to Vietnam, a spokesperson for the American embassy in Hanoi said that “no country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities.”

Russia was hit with U.S.-led sanctions after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.


Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.