President Truong Tan Sang on July 21 met with astronaut of the former Soviet Union Viktor Vasilyevich Gorbatko, who together with Vietnamese astronaut Pham Tuan made a successful flight into space 35 years ago.

The State leader said Gorbatko’s visit coincides with activities to mark Vietnam’s 70th National Day and the 35th anniversary of the Vietnam-Soviet Union flight into space.

Highlighting the traditional amity and special cooperation between Vietnam and Russia for over 50 years, he noted that Vietnam appreciates the whole-hearted and enormous assistance of the Soviet Union during the fight for national liberation and that of Russia during the current national development.

Recalling the trip made by Gorbatko and Pham Tuan 35 years ago, he said this was the first flight into space of a Vietnamese national and marked a milestone in the development of friendship and all-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and the Soviet Union in the past and Russia today.

President Truong Tan Sang added that the flight laid an initial foundation for Vietnam’s space collaboration. He asked Russian scientists to help their Vietnamese peers to access space studies for peaceful purposes.

At the meeting in Hanoi, Gorbatko described his trip into space with Pham Tuan as an unforgettable memory and said he always keeps in minds the warm sentiment the Vietnamese people give him whenever he visits the country.

The cosmonaut expressed his belief that his visit this time will contribute to space research cooperation between the two nations, thus consolidating bilateral time-honoured affiliation and friendship.-VNA