Vietnam will buy submarines and warplanes from its former communist ally Russia, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday.
"Vietnam signed contracts for the purchases of submarines and planes from the Russian side," he said without elaborating after Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport signed an agreement to supply "special material" to the Vietnamese navy.
Interfax news agency quoted unnamed sources as saying Russia will sell Vietnam six diesel-electric submarines of "Project 636" type, more widely known under its NATO codename "Kilo", for a total of around $2 billion.
It said the submarines, known for their low noise and easy maintenance, would be built at a shipyard in St Petersburg which has undertaken to supply one submarine to Vietnam each year. A Russian government spokesman declined to comment.
Interfax quoted another unnamed Russian official as saying the two sides in Moscow had also discussed a deal for delivery of eight Sukhoi Su-30MK2 jet fighters to Vietnam.
The official told Interfax that Vietnam could buy a further 12 warplanes of this type, worth a total of some $600 million.
Vietnam is buying the weaponry at a time when disputes over sovereignty in the South China Sea are increasing. Vietnam said it views the disputes with concern.
Vietnam, China and other countries have longstanding competing claims of sovereignty over parts of the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea, including the potentially oil and gas-rich Spratly and Paracel island chains.
Reuters Last Mod: 15 Aralık 2009, 21:16