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Vietnam to Host Putin in Nod to Old Ties, Risking Ire of West

Editor

Laila Afifa

19 June 2024 21:39 WIB

TEMPO.CO, HanoiVietnam prepared on Wednesday, June 19, to roll out the red carpet for Vladimir Putin in a visit seen as a publicity coup for the Russian president, who is accused of war crimes in Ukraine, while bringing benefits and risks for Hanoi's Communist leaders.

Putin is expected to arrive late Wednesday night in Hanoi, fresh from a visit to Pyongyang, where he embraced North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Although both North Korea and Russia face international isolation, Vietnam has built careful alliances with the United States and the European Union. The United States has already condemned Hanoi's hosting the Russian leader.

That makes the Hanoi stop of Putin's tour especially important for the Russian leader, said Alexander Vuving of the Hawaii-based Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.

"Russia wants to send the message that it has friends everywhere in the world and that the West's effort to isolate Russia is futile," Vuving said, adding that Hanoi has its own interests beyond the two countries' shared Communist roots.

"Russia plays a unique and critical role in Vietnam’s foreign policy," he said, noting that Moscow has been a major arms supplier to Hanoi.

Russia was hit with U.S.-led Western sanctions after it invaded neighboring Ukraine in February 2022 in what Moscow calls a "special military operation". In March 2023, the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, charges he denies.

Neither Vietnam nor Russia are members of the ICC.



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