Russia has agreed a new military cooperation roadmap with Vietnam, which could bring Moscow into the ongoing power struggle between the China and the U.S. in the South China Sea.
The deal was signed by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Vietnamese counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian news agency TASS reported.
The agreement—signed on the sidelines of the seventh Moscow Conference on International Security—set out the details of military cooperation between the two countries from 2018 until 2020. Gen. Ngo told Shoigu he was pleased that Russia and Vietnam were taking steps to increase their military and naval coordination.
As part of the agreement, Russia will deploy a rescue boat from its Pacific fleet to Vietnam, which will take part in search and rescue operations in the region. Moscow will also send a delegation to Vietnam to continue work on a draft deal on search and rescue operations for disabled submarines.