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Vietnam seeks closer defense trade ties with Israel

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Vietnam seeks closer defense trade ties with Israel
By: Barbara Opall-Rome, February 27, 2017 (Photo Credit: Courtesy of IMI

TEL AVIV – In a rare public acknowledgement of growing defense trade with
Israel, Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang said Israel “has become a big
partner of Vietnam” and should work to deepen bilateral ties in research,
development and technology transfer.

Quang’s remarks came at a reception held in Hanoi for Yitzhak Aharonovitch,
chairman of Israel’s state-owned IMI Systems, where the Vietnamese leader
cited “consistently growing” cooperation, “especially in the areas of
security and defense.”

According to an IMI statement released Monday, Aharonovitch, a former
minister for public security, said the Israeli company he now chairs has
been investing in Vietnam since 1999 and hoped that “mutual collaboration
and high technology knowledge transfer” with Vietnam would continue to grow.

“Aharonovitch stressed that the advanced weapon systems developed and
manufactured by IMI Systems correspond to the advanced technology used by
the Vietnamese Army,” the statement read.

Although the press release did not identify specific IMI products that have
been sold to Vietnam, sources said the list includes advanced tank rounds,
artillery systems and the firm’s Extra, a four-meter-long precision
artillery rocket designed to carry a range of warheads up to distances of
150 kilometers.

According to the IMI statement, Aharonovitch last visited Vietnam in 2014
in his role as Public Security minister. “President Quang praised the
contribution of Aharonovitch in expending Vietnamese-Israeli cooperation
during his tenure as Minisdter of Public Security and expressed the hope
that Aharonovitch will continue to further promote bilateral relations,
especially in training quality personnel in the field of technology.”

In March 2015, the two countries concluded a memorandum of understanding on
defense cooperation that codified areas for expanded defense trade,
technology transfer and licensed production.

The IMI Chairman’s visit to Vietnam comes on the heels of Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s week-long visit to Singapore and Australia; a
trip that the Israeli leader defined as an “Asia pivot” aimed at
strengthening regional ties among a spectrum of industries, including
aerospace and defense.


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