Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 159

Belarus and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam “hold identical political views” and “conduct convergent internal and external policies,” President Alyaksandr Lukashenka concluded yesterday after three days of talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Duc Luong in Minsk. The two presidents criticized unnamed former socialist countries for “destroying the economic model that took shape over the years,” and called for restoration of former trade links.

The talks produced an intergovernmental agreement on military-industrial cooperation. Belarus will deliver components for Vietnam’s Soviet-era military hardware, repair and overhaul that hardware in Belarusan plants. It will also train Vietnamese specialists in Belarusan military schools. (Radio Minsk, Itar-Tass, August 30 and 31)

Luong’s visit returned Lukashenka’s to Vietnam in 1997. Belarus seeks revenue through military sales and services to former Soviet clients in Asia and Latin America. Results seem modest thus far, but Minsk persists because its main civilian industrial products–obsolescent trucks and tractors–are increasingly difficult to sell outside Russia.