Vietnam’s new defense minister makes first visit to Russia

By Toan Dao   April 25, 2016 | 11:34 pm PT
Vietnam’s new defense minister makes first visit to Russia
One of the diesel-powered 636 Kilo-class submarines in Cam Ranh Naval Base. Photo by Ha My
Vietnam’s Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich is in Russia on his first overseas visit since being appointed to the position earlier this month.

Russia is Vietnam's largest arms supplier. In 2009, Vietnam signed deals to buy six diesel-powered 636 Kilo-class submarines from Russia to modernize its navy. Five of them have already arrived at the Cam Ranh naval base in the central region.

In their meetings on Monday, Lich and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu reaffirmed that the two countries are important partners and long-term friends. Many Vietnamese military officers are studying in Russia, and the latter is considering sending military personnel to study in Vietnam, the Vietnamese government said in a statement on Tuesday.

Russia considers Vietnam a strategic ally and a friendly country. Maintaining a close relationship based on trust with Vietnam is one of Russia's foreign policy priorities, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on April 25.

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