Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong will pay official visits to Russia and Belarus from November 23-28, with a view to strengthening the bilateral traditional friendships and cooperation ties.

Vietnam and Russia have seen a rapid development in bilateral relations in recent years, with their comprehensive strategic partnership growing deeply and effectively in a number of fields.

Vietnam considers Russia a priority in its external policy. Vietnam ’s position in Russia ’s external policy in turn has improved remarkably, becoming an important strategic partner in the Asian-Pacific region and the prime partner in Southeast Asia .

The two countries enjoy a high level of political trust. Visits by high-ranking delegations are organised regularly, contributing to the development of bilateral relations. President Vladimir Putin’s State visit to Vietnam in November 2013 and the upcoming Russia visit by the Vietnamese Party leader are important milestones in the two countries’ relations, helping the traditional friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Russia to grow.

Two-way trade reached almost 4 billion USD in 2013, and exceeded 1.8 billion USD during the first eight months of this year. Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan conducted seven rounds of negotiations on a free trade agreement, aiming to sign it by the end of the year. The agreement is expected to raise bilateral trade turnover to 7 billion USD by 2015 and 10 billion USD by 2020.

Russia is currently running 92 investment projects in Vietnam , with a combined capital of 2.05 billion USD. It ranks 18 th amongst the 101 countries and territories investing in Vietnam . Meanwhile, Vietnam is operating 17 projects worth 2.5 billion USD in Russia , with a focus on oil and gas, as well as banking and trade.

The two sides set up a high-level working group for priority projects, which identified 17 priority projects and is expected to help strengthen investment ties.

Attention has also been paid to energy cooperation. In addition to collaborating on oil and gas exploration and exploitation, the two sides reached an agreement on working together to build and modernise power plants in Vietnam , including the country’s first nuclear power plant in central Ninh Thuan province.

The two countries also take turns in organising “Russian cultural days” in Vietnam and “Vietnamese cultural days” in Russia .

Vietnam welcomed nearly 300,000 Russian tourists in 2013 and around 270,000 arrivals in the first nine months of this year.

80,000 Vietnamese nationals, including 6,000 students, live in 62 Russian provinces and cities.

Vietnam and Belarus also enjoy a sound and time-honoured friendship and cooperation, with political ties growing continuously.

Two-way trade reached 152 million USD in 2013, with Vietnamese imports totalling 138.3 million USD. To balance their import-export turnover, the two countries’ leaders agreed to intensify cooperation in areas of strength and with potential; to effectively implement signed agreements on agricultural and industrial production; and to accelerate the establishment of joint ventures to produce milk, fertilisers and pharmaceuticals, and manufacture trucks and tractors.

The two countries see prospects for cooperation on labour export. Vietnamese businesses recently signed contracts with a construction company in Belarus to send Vietnamese labourers to work on an entertainment-sports complex project in Minsk . Vietnam is also willing to provide skilled and high-quality human resources for Belarus in the fields of health, construction and the garment industry.

As many as 600 Vietnamese nationals live in Belarus.-VNA