Russia, Vietnam to Discuss Cam Ranh Bay Pullout, Other Issues
Jan. 28, 1992
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ A delegation from Russia will visit Vietnam by June to negotiate the pullout of all military personnel from the Cam Ranh Bay naval base and talk trade, a Russian official said today.
Russia wants to bring home all troops stationed abroad, said Konstantin Baykov, spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Hanoi.
Cam Ranh Bay, 185 miles northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, was built by U.S. forces during the Vietnam War. After winning the war in 1975, the Vietnamese Communists took over the base and granted the Soviets access to it.
It was once the former Soviet Union's largest overseas naval base, according to the U.S. Defense Department, which in the past cited the base in justifying a considerable U.S. naval presence in the region.
Under Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Moscow began scaling down its presence at the base even before the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Baykov said he did not have an official figure for the number of Russian military personnel still at Cam Ranh Bay, but said Russian media have reported that less than 500 personnel and dependents remain in the country.
Russian media also have reported that the last major Russian vessel docked at Cam Ranh Bay, the Adm. Spiridonov missile destroyer, left last month for Vladivostok, said Baykov, who spoke by telephone from Hanoi.
For a decade, the former Soviet Union was Vietnam's chief foreign ally and source of aid. Relations frayed as the Soviet Union split apart and renounced Communism, which Vietnam still embraces.