Vietnam will allow Russia to set up a ship maintenance base at its port of Cam Ranh, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang said on Friday.
Sang, speaking to the Voice of Russia radio station ahead of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, stressed that the port would not be a Russian military base. But he also said that Cam Ranh would be used to help develop “military co-operation” between the two former Cold War allies.
Sang also said Hanoi was planning to develop the capacity to provide maintenance services to any foreign ship docking at Cam Ranh, a former Soviet naval base.
Russia currently has only one foreign military base outside the former Soviet Union – in Tartus, Syria. But officials say the base is little more than a re-fuelling stop for Russian warships.
Russia’s naval chief, Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov, confirmed on Friday that Russia was in talks on obtaining naval bases in Cuba, Vietnam and in the Seychelles.
“We are indeed continuing work to ensure the stationing of Russian Navy forces outside the Russian Federation,” he said in an interview with RIA Novosti. “As part of this work at the international level, we are discussing issues related to the creation of [ship] maintenance stations in Cuba, in the Seychelles and in Vietnam.”
The Russian Navy saw that it badly needed foreign bases after 2008, when Russian warships joined international anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden. Russia has also discussed the possibility of using ports in Djibouti for its warships in the past.