Visiting Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that it would finance Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant as it aims to boost trade ties with the Asian country, underlining long-standing cooperation between the two Communist nations.

During his visit to Hanoi following the Asia Europe Meeting in Laos, Mr. Medvedev hopes to start negotiations for a free trade agreement that he believes would increase two-way trade to $7.0 billion by 2015, up from $2.12 billion last year.

“We are pleased with the rapid increase in bilateral trade. Both countries are looking to develop it further,” Mr. Medvedev told AFP.

Mr. Medvedev also urged an increase cooperation in oil and gas exploration through joint investments between the countries’ energy companies, Reuters reports.

“We discussed important projects including the construction of Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant and oil cooperation regarding joint-venture Vietsovpetro,” Mr. Medvedev said, adding that Russia would provide up to $10 billion for the project.