Russia to Help Develop Vietnam’s Civil Nuclear Program

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Nov. 7 – The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said that Russia is willing to help develop Vietnam's nuclear energy program.

"We know that such plans were made in Vietnam, very daring and far-reaching plans. We hope that Russia will be among those who will work with Vietnam in this hi-tech area and continue the traditions of our cooperation," Denisov was quoted as saying by the AFP.

Last month, Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet visited the Kremlin to sign oil and gas deals with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.Gazprom is set to work with oil firm PetroVietnam for a joint exploration project of Vietnam's offshore oil reserves.

Another deal worth an estimated US$1 million will allow United Company RusAl to build an integrated bauxite-aluminum complex in Vietnam.

According to AFP, the deals are a part of Russia's efforts to regain Soviet-era influence in the region since Russia's clout in the Southeast Asian country is still a shadow of Soviet-era levels.

In the early 1970s, Russia had invested heavily in the Vietnamese economy and helped it develop its crude offshore facilities.

In 2007, bilateral trade between the two countries reached only US$1.5 billion compared to trade with the United States amounting to more than US$10 billion.