25 July 2024,   17:13
Putin arrives in Vietnam for state visit condemned by US

Vladimir Putin has arrived in Vietnam for talks with its communist leaders on the final stop of his two-nation tour of Asia after signing a defence pact with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, writes The Guardian.

The Russian president’s plane touched down at Hanoi airport where he was met on a red carpet by Vietnamese deputy prime minister Tran Hong Ha and top party diplomat Le Hoai Trung.

The visit has drawn criticism from the US, among Vietnam’s top trade partners, which has warned it risks normalising Russia’s “blatant violations of international law”.

According to a report from Russian news agency Tass, Putin is set to discuss collaboration in “trade and economic, scientific, technological and humanitarian areas” as well as to exchange views on key issues on the international and regional agenda.

In an opinion piece to coincide with his visit, published in Vietnam’s Communist party newspaper Nhan Dan, Putin listed progress on payments, energy and trade between the countries. He also applauded Vietnam for supporting “a pragmatic way to solve the crisis” in Ukraine.

Vietnam’s leadership favours a so-called “bamboo diplomacy” – which sways with the winds, and avoids picking sides in international disputes – including in relation to Ukraine, and the rivalry between the US and China.

Vietnam, a manufacturing powerhouse, has grown closer to the US and its allies, and last year Communist party leader, Nguyen Phu Trong, hosted US president Joe Biden and upgraded ties with Washington, as well as with Australia and Japan.