Russian Minister of Defence Sergey Shoigu and Vietnamese Minister of Defence Ngô Xuân Lịch at an official reception during the latter's visit to Russia. — VNA/VNS Photo Trần Hiếu
MOSCOW — Developing the comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia was a top priority for Việt Nam, with defence cooperation the pillar of their bilateral relationship, Vietnamese Minister of National Defence General Ngô Xuân Lịch said on Wednesday.
During his talks with Russian Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Lịch said the Vietnamese people and army were always grateful for support offered by their Russian counterparts during struggles against foreign aggressors for national liberation, as well as assistance from the Russian State and army during the current cause of national construction and defence.
He highlighted Việt Nam’s consistent policy of enhancing solidarity, friendship and comprehensive strategic co-operation with Russia, which is also the top foreign policy for the Vietnamese Party, State and army.
Lịch lauded the Russian Defence Ministry’s engagement in regional security mechanisms, especially with ASEAN, saying the practical and effective collaboration would contribute to intensify trust and handle and prevent security challenges, particularly non-traditional ones.
As the Chair of ASEAN in 2020 and a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2020-21, Việt Nam would continue to co-ordinate with Russia and partner countries to realise their targets, and back Russia’s efforts in expanding co-operation with ASEAN for peace, stability and development.
The minister took this occasion to applaud the Russian Defence Ministry’s role at the Việt Nam-Russia Tropical Centre.
For his part, Shoigu emphasised the significance of Lịch’s visit, saying it contributed to the enhancement of the comprehensive strategic partnership, especially as the two countries celebrated the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties (January 30, 1950).
Russia always considered Việt Nam a traditional friend and an important strategic partner in the region, he said, adding that the enhancement of the comprehensive co-operation would benefit people from both countries and help to maintain peace, stability and development in each region and the world.
Russia prioritised developing co-operative relations with Việt Nam, including defence collaboration, Shoigu noted.
The two ministers shared their views on the progress of defence ties, which had contributed to consolidating political trust between their countries.
They said exchanges of delegations at all levels and co-operation mechanisms such as defence policy dialogues and working groups had been maintained, while military technology co-operation through the Inter-Governmental Committee had proven effective Co-operation on personnel training was also a bright spot in their defence ties.
Lịch and Shoigu agreed to promote defence co-operation on the basis of mutual trust and agreements, including a joint vision statement signed during Lịch's visit.
The two sides would continue to exchange views on issues of shared concern regarding national defence and security, step up defence links in traditional fields, and strengthen military technology co-operation for mutual benefits.
Lịch said the Ministry of National Defence would support and work with its Russian counterparts to successfully fulfill their role as co-chairs of the ADMM+ experts’ working group on counter-terrorism from 2020-23, while creating a consensus among ASEAN on Russia’s proposals at the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+).
He invited Shoigu to pay an official visit to Việt Nam and attend the ADMM+ as well as a ceremony marking its 10th anniversary.
At the end of their talks, the two ministers signed a joint vision statement on Việt Nam-Russia defence co-operation for 2020-25. The statement is of significance as it supplements existing agreements and contributes to orienting bilateral defence ties for the sake of the people of the two countries, and for peace, stability and co-operation in the region and the world.
Vietnamese Minister of Defence Ngô Xuân Lịch lays a wreath at the monument for unknown martyrs next to the Kremlin in Moscow. — VNA/VNS Photo
The same day, Lịch visited and talked with staff at the Vietnamese Embassy in Russia.
Earlier, Lịch and his entourage paid tribute to President Hồ Chí Minh at his statue in Moscow and laid wreaths at the monument for unknown martyrs next to the Kremlin.
During his official trip to Russia, Lịch also met with Director of Russia's Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov and received Russian war veterans who helped Việt Nam during the country’s struggle for national liberation. — VNS