Vietnam holds first international arms expo in Hanoi

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam on Thursday opened its first large-scale international defence exhibition, as the Southeast Asian country seeks to diversify its arms sources and also to export equipment.

The three-day event held at an airport in the capital Hanoi attracted 174 exhibitors from 30 countries, including the United States, Russia and European nations.

The exhibition will help "diversify defence equipment procurement sources for the purpose of protecting the nation and the people amid rising conventional and unconventional challenges," Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said at the opening of the event.

Officials and analysts said Vietnam is also eyeing a major defence shift as it seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian, which was for decades Vietnam's main supplier of weapons and defence systems.

"Vietnam's defence policy is peace and self-defence," Chinh said.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu and Francesco Guarancio; Editing by Ed Davies)

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