On January 30, Vietnam and Russia will mark the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties. Could you elaborate on what you consider to be the major achievements in the Vietnam-Russia relationship?
Vadim Bublikov: First of all, I would like to express my warm wishes and greetings to VOV’s audience on the occasion of the upcoming Lunar New Year Festival and wish them all happiness and prosperity.
On January 30, Russia and Vietnam will celebrate the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties and it offers us the occasion to review our two nations’ glorious history. The glorious victory of Vietnamese people in their struggle for independence and freedom is the most unforgettable achievement.
Russia is very proud that it contributed to the Vietnamese people’s victory and its support for the Vietnamese people during the difficult period in the nation’s history. These traditional relations have helped both nations resolve urgent issues in the current context.
Recently, Vietnam-Russia relations have been upgraded to that of a comprehensive strategic partnership. This elevation of Vietnam-Russia relations is attributed to the regular exchange of high-level visits by top leaders.
For example, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official visit to Russia took place in November 2014 was very productive and successful. During the visit, Party leader Trong held talks with high-ranking leaders from Russia.
Later, in early December 2014, Russian State Duman Speaker E. Naryshkin visited Vietnam and held talks with Vietnamese top leaders. In 2014, Vietnam successfully concluded FTA negotiations with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
I want to stress that Vietnam is the first nation for which the Customs Union has signed FTA. The most important cooperative field is oil and gas sector. At present, the oil and gas joint venture Vietsovpetro has operated effectively in Vietnam.
In addition, several major Vietnamese-Russian projects with the participation of leading oil and gas companies Rosneft and Gazprom have been thriving.
Another important cooperative area is the development of nuclear power. The current nuclear power plant in Vietnam was built and operated with the participation of Russia’s State Nuclear Energy Corporation or Rosatom. This might be the largest-scale and most prosperous project in Russia-Vietnam relations
In the science and technology field, Vietnam-Russia Tropical Research and Technological Centre took shape, which also offered cooperative opportunities in the research field.
In the education and training field, thousands of Vietnamese students and post graduates have been studying in Russia due to its high quality and highly-accredited educational institutions. Moreover, the Russian Government has granted scholarships to Vietnamese citizens regularly with the number of scholarships amounting to more than 600.
Currently, both nations have formulated a project to construct a Vietnam-Russia University of Technology in Vietnam. The project will bring the Russian education system closer to Vietnamese students when Russian leading lecturers will come to Vietnam and teach at the University.
Tourism is also a cooperative field which has greatly contributed to the development of other areas. Last year, Vietnam welcomed more than 300,000 Russian tourists.
Both nations have exerted great efforts to strengthen cooperation in the field of research and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. Recently, both countries have signed an inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in the space field. Russia is now bent on enhancing and improving cooperation in this area.
What is Vietnam’s status in Russia’s foreign policies at present?
Vadim Bublikov: Vietnam is one of Russia’s most important partners and has played a greater role in the Asia-Pacific region. Especially, cooperation with Vietnam is one of highest priorities of Russia’s foreign policies in the region. These policies have been reflected in Russian leaders’ official documents such as the President’s decrees dated February 11, 2014 and May 7, 2014 on the implementation of foreign guidelines. The decrees emphasized Vietnam is one of the most important strategic partners and a reliable and long-term partner of Russia thanks to time-honoured relationship.
Could you elaborate on development orientations in Vietnam-Russia relationship in 2015 and the following years?
Vadim Bublikov: For future cooperation, we hoped that the FTA between the Customs Union and Vietnam will open up new opportunities for Vietnamese partners. We will make every effort to increase Russia’s investment in Vietnam as both nations have not fully tapped their potential.
Russia has always welcomed Vietnamese investors to the field of wood processing and seafood in the Far East and Siberia regions.
We will grant more scholarships to Vietnamese students in the future and exert greater efforts to put the Vietnam-Russia University of Technology into operation soon. Moreover, we will continue to enhance cooperation in other fields.