Hanoi (VNA) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev began his two-day official visit to Vietnam on November 18 at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The visit takes place at a time when the two countries will celebrate the Vietnam Year in Russia and Russia Year in Vietnam during 2019-2020, the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on fundamental principles of Vietnam – Russia friendship in 2019 and the 70th founding anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2020. 

It aims to continue stepping up bilateral ties across politics, economy-trade, national defence-security, science-technology, education-training, culture-tourism, and locality-to-locality exchange.

On March 1, 2001, Vietnam and Russia signed a joint statement on strategic partnership. Later on July 27, 2012, both sides issued a joint statement on further strengthening bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership. 

Over the past years, Vietnam – Russia political ties with high trust have been incessantly strengthened. The exchange of high-level visits has created a strong foundation to develop the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations. 

On economic-trade ties, the two nations maintained the operation of the Inter-Governmental Committee for Economic, Trade and Scientific-Technological Cooperation, which was established in 1992. The Vietnam – Russia Business Council was set up to facilitate bilateral trade and investment. The two countries recognised each other as market economies in 2007. 

Two-way trade rose from 2.2 billion USD in 2015 to 2.7 billion USD in 2016 and 3.55 billion USD in 2017. Vietnam mostly exports mobile phones, apparel, farm produce, and seafood to Russia while importing petroleum, iron and steel, fertiliser, machinery and equipment. 

Russia now ranks 23rd among countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 116 projects worth a total of 990 billion USD, mostly in oil and gas, manufacturing, mining, transportation, telecommunications, and aquaculture. 

Vietnam currently invests in 22 projects worth nearly 3 billion USD in Russia, predominantly in Rusvietpetro and Gazpromviet oil and gas ventures, Hanoi – Moscow cultural-trade centre, TH True Milk’s milch farming and agriculture, among others. 

On cultural exchange, Cultural Days in Vietnam and Russia are held annually and alternately. Russia remains among the top 10 sources of tourist arrivals in Vietnam. The number of Russian tourists soared from 176,000 in 2012 to 300,000 in 2013, 364,000 in 2014, 340,000 in 2015, 430,000 in 2016 and 570,000 in 2017. 

In the past, Russia offered training courses to nearly 40,000 Vietnamese officials and experts in diverse areas. In 2011, Russia provided 345 tertiary and post-tertiary scholarships for Vietnamese students, which rose to 400 in 2012 and 70 others for nuclear experts, 600 ones in 2014, 795 in 2015, 855 in 2016 and 953 in 2017. More than 5,000 Vietnamese students are studying in Russia.-VNA