President Truong Tan Sang will pay an official visit to Russia from July 26-30 at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The visit, the first by Sang as the President of Vietnam, is expected to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

During the visit, a number of business forums will be held and several cooperation agreements signed in the fields of agriculture, customs, culture-tourism, science-technology and economics.

Vietnam and Russia officially established their diplomatic ties on January 30, 1950. The two countries signed a treaty on basic principles for bilateral friendship in June 1994 and a joint declaration on Vietnam-Russia strategic partnership in March 2001.

They have regularly exchanged high-ranking delegations, including Russia visits by Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh in October 2002 and July 2010, President Tran Duc Luong in May 2004, President Nguyen Minh Triet in August 2008 and May 2010, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in September 2007 and December 2009, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Van An in January 2003 and NA Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong in April 2009.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Vietnam in March 2001 and November 2006, and President Dmitry Medvedev paid an official visit to the country in October 2010.

Vietnam and Russia have shared common viewpoints on many regional and international issues as well as closely coordinated and supported each other at international forums such as the UN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

The two sides have also promoted cooperation in the ASEAN-Russia framework with the successful organisation of the second ASEAN-Russia Summit in Hanoi in October 2010.

Vietnam actively supported Russia to be admitted to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in October 2010 and join the East Asia Summit (EAS) since 2011.

Regarding economic-trade cooperation, Vietnam and Russia have maintained the mechanism of the Inter-Governmental Committee for Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

The Vietnam-Russia Business Council was set up to promote trade and investment between the two countries’ businesses. The two countries recognised each other as market economies in 2007.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and Russia reached 1.98 billion USD in 2011, an 8.1 percent increase over the previous year. The figure was 918.8 million USD in the first five months of this year, up 45.5 percent year-on-year.

Vietnam mainly exports telephones, garments and agro-seafood products to Russia while importing petroleum, steel, fertiliser, machines and equipment from the European country.

By the end of May 2012, Russia had 78 FDI projects in Vietnam with a total investment of 919 million USD, ranking 23 rd among countries and territories investing in Vietnam .

On energy, a traditional, strategic and effective cooperation, besides Vietsovpetro which will operate until 2030, the two countries have set up Rusvietpetro, Vietgazprom and Gazpromviet to expand oil and gas exploitation in Vietnam , Russia and third countries.

Cultural exchange activities have been held regularly, helping strengthen the understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

Since 1991, the two countries have signed more than 60 cooperation documents in the fields of oil and gas, nuclear power, economics-trade, education-training, culture-science and military technique.

The Vietnamese community now numbers 60,000-80,000 in Russia.-VNA