ASSESSMENTS

Putin's Trip to Vietnam Yields Energy Deals, but Defense Cooperation Will Remain Constrained

Jun 21, 2024 | 18:39 GMT

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Vietnamese President To Lam attend an event in Hanoi, Vietnam, on June 20, 2024.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Vietnamese President To Lam attend an event in Hanoi, Vietnam, on June 20, 2024.

(GAVRIIL GRIGOROV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Vietnam will forward shared energy interests, particularly oil and gas projects in the South China Sea, but reinvigorating a stalled defense industrial relationship is likely a bridge too far. From June 19-20, Putin visited Vietnam where he met with General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and President To Lam. The leaders signed several agreements on areas such as educational ties, ministerial-level collaboration, nuclear energy research, healthcare, and joint oil and gas operations in the South China Sea. The deals probably also included a trade financing mechanism, as Vietnam has left the Russian MIR payment system while Russia was excised from the SWIFT payment system, complicating transactions between the two countries. According to Putin, 60% of Russia-Vietnam transactions are now conducted in each other's respective currencies, which a memorandum of understanding between Vietnam's Bao Viet Fund Management Joint Stock Company and...

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