HANOI, June 20 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to build a "reliable security architecture" in the Asia-Pacific region during a state visit to Vietnam on Thursday, part of a trip to Asia seen as show of defiance to the West.

A day after signing a mutual defence agreement with North Korea, Putin received a 21-gun salute at a military ceremony in Vietnam, was embraced by two of its Communist leaders and lavishly praised by one of them.


What would Russia have to gain from building a reliable security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region? Putin said he wanted to build a reliable security architecture in the region, but given that there's a buffer state in North Korea and China is no threat to Russia in the region, what exactly would Russia have to gain from making a push for this exactly?

  • Not having to fight on two different fronts may be one of the reasons.
    – alamar
    Commented Jul 9 at 18:08
  • 1
    There is a notable history of hostilities between Russia, North Korea and China, even though they are currently very friendly to eachother. The Russian government also has a long history of trying to secure access to the pacific ocean, as they fear that in a conflict, likely with the US, their ships might be effectively trapped inside Russia by the frozen sea, and by attacks from the islands that form Japan. They even occupied one of the islands to ensure access. Commented Jul 9 at 19:19

2 Answers 2


Frame challenge: Security is in the eye of the beholder.

You are stating the question as if there is ONE, objective "security architecture" that everybody recognizes and can only accept or reject.

In reality, what Putin says is "we want to get to some agreements in our favour." Nothing particularly newsworthy, but "security architecture" sounds more diplomatic than "we want it our way."

If the agreements do not suit Russia's interest, then Russia will not join them and will probably denounce them as "unfair" and "hostile."

Please note that I do not want to state here that Russia or Putin are specially "evil" by trying to protect their interest with agreements. Organizations like NATO or SEATO were also "security organizations" but its interests closely aligned with those of the USA. And that does not mean that it was against the interest of the other members, who did join voluntarily.

Similarly, I do not intend to say that Russia would not want stability on its own, but only to the point that it suits its own intereste (i.e. it does not have to make any concession that outweights the perceived benefit of not having a war at your doorstep).

In the end, it is just a diplomatic way of saying "we are looking for agreements."


Vietnam is at odds with China over some (territorial) issues and being (partly) courted by the USA at least as a less problematic country to outsource to. (Meaning the US hopes Vietnam won't use the money it thus gets to prep for invading some US ally, like China does with Taiwan.)

So, beyond the diplomatic facade, Putin is worried about any inroads that the US may be making (Biden visited Vietnam last year), thus this Putin visit and counterbalance proposal, phrased in innocuous terms.

Besides, the terms are somewhat familiar. IIRC Russia/Putin has been talking about a "new security architecture" in Europe for decades. He's now just extending the same talk to Asia, where (as the Reuters piece you link to details) he's been forced to refocus on, after becoming a pariah in much of Europe. Whether people in Asia take his "reliable security architecture" in Asia seriously, it depends whom they are. I suppose North Korea is excited given the renewed ties. Whether Vietnam will be buying into that, given their different (than NK) internationals status, it remains to be seen.

On the other hand, Russia/Putin has proven adept at making inroads with all sorts of dictators in Africa, and Vietnam is not exactly a shining beacon of democracy and human rights (at least according to US standards). Their relationship with the US will thus always have potential to be a bit strained. Whereas Russia/Putin has no qualms about such topics even entering into the discussion, typically relying on materialistic quid-pro-quos instead--see their deals with North Korea.


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