Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung arrived in Moscow on May 12, beginning his four-day official visit to Russia at the invitation of host Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

At the airport, Dung was received by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrey Kovtun, and Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Pham Xuan Son, among others.

Dung and his entourage later laid a wreath at the monument dedicated to President Ho Chi Minh in the Russian capital, and met with the Vietnamese Embassy’s staff and representatives of the Vietnamese community in Russia .

The visit by the Head of the Vietnamese Government aims to confirm that Vietnam treasures and wishes to further strengthen its comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia , Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Pham Xuan Son said in an interview granted to Russia ’s e-newspaper Inforos.

In 2012, Vietnam and Russia upgraded their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership level, marking an important development in their bilateral ties.

Over the past time, many high-level delegations between the two countries were exchanged and existing cooperation mechanisms were implemented effectively, primarily the Inter-governmental Committee for Economic, Commercial and Scientific and Technological Cooperation, regular dialogues on diplomacy-national defence-security, as well as periodical political consultations between the Foreign Ministries.

The two countries have worked closely at international forums, especially at the United Nations and within the framework of regional forums such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and East Asia Summit (EAS).

Bilateral trade has been growing robustly, reaching nearly 2.45 billion USD in 2012, or a year-on-year increase of 23 percent. In the first three months of 2013, it hit 734 million USD.

By April 20, 2013, Russia ranked 18 th among 101 foreign investors in Vietnam with a combined registered capital of 2.07 billion USD pouring in 93 projects. Meanwhile, Vietnam has invested more than 1.7 billion USD in 16 projects in Russia .

Ambassador Son also noted that PM Dung’s visit also aims to realise the agreements reached during President Truong Tan Sang’s Russia visit in 2012.

During his visit, PM Dung and his counterpart Medvedev will discuss and sign a number of new agreements, aimed at promoting the comprehensive strategic partnership in all fields.

They will look at ways to raise two-way trade to 7 billion USD by 2015 and 10 billion USD by 2020 and intensify cooperation in nuclear energy.

They will discuss measures for Russian businesses to continue exploring and exploiting oil and gas in Vietnam’s continental shelf in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and establish a Vietnam-Russia University of Technology in Hanoi.

Son also emphasised the first round of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Hanoi in April, 2013 between Vietnam and the Customs Union, which includes Russia , Belarus and Kazakhstan .

Once signed, the FTA will provide Vietnam with greater access and stronger cooperation in various fields in these countries while giving its partners opportunities to penetrate deeply into the potential Southeast Asian market.

The signing of the document, which is expected in late 2014, will be a historical event for the economic ties between Vietnam and the union in general and Russia in particular, according to the ambassador.-VNA