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Cablegate: New Czars in the Making? The New Dpm Portfolios

VZCZCXRO2968
RR RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #1550/01 2411708
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291708Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6211
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3596

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001550

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS AND INR/B
STATE PASS TO USTR DAVID BISBEE

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON ETRD EFIN VM
SUBJECT: NEW CZARS IN THE MAKING? THE NEW DPM PORTFOLIOS

REF: HANOI 1360

(U) This cable is sensitive but unclassified. Not for Internet.

1. (SBU) Summary. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung signed a Decision
this week assigning duties and portfolios to himself and his five
Deputy Prime Ministers (DPMs), two of which are newly-created
positions. Broadly defined, the Prime Minister will oversee all
Government of Vietnam (GVN) operations, while assigning one DPM each
to cover banking and finance; international relations;
anti-corruption and judicial reform efforts; economic affairs; and
education and training. While expectations are high for new DPM and
Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thien Nhan, the new DPM in
charge of economic affairs, Hoang Trung Hai, has elicited mixed
reviews. End Summary.

THE PRIME MINISTER'S DOMAIN
---------------------------
2. (U) Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung announced on August 27
Decision 1120, assigning duties and portfolios to himself and his
five DPMs, two of which are positions created after the August 2
cabinet reshuffle (Reftel). Dzung reserved for himself
responsibility for "all operations of the government" and oversight
of the Central Anti-Corruption Steering Committee. He will also
directly supervise the functions of the ministries of Planning and
Investment, Defense, Public Security, and Internal Affairs and
Health, the Office of the Government (OOG), the National Political
and Administrative Institute, and major media outlets such as the
Vietnam News Agency, Vietnam Television and Voice of Vietnam Radio.

FINANCE AND BANKING
-------------------

3. (U) DPM Nguyen Sinh Hung, the highest ranking of the DPMs, has
been assigned as the finance and banking czar, with responsibilities
for monetary policy, finance, customs, securities and the
"equitization" of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Under his direct
supervision will be the Ministries of Finance and Labor, Invalids
and Social Affairs, as well as the State Bank, the State Capital
Investment Corporation (SCIC), the Committee of Ethnic Minorities,
Vietnam Social Insurance and the Vietnam Development Bank. Contacts
in the Ministry of Finance commented to the Embassy that his prior
experience as Vice Minister and Minister of Finance made him an
obvious choice for this portfolio.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
-----------------------

4. (SBU) Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem, who will continue to
retain dual responsibilities as Foreign Minister (as he did under
the old Cabinet), is in charge of international relations, border
issues and, significantly, "international economic relations." The
media reports that he will be responsible for overseeing Vietnam's
integration into the world economy and ensuring that Vietnam meets
its bilateral, multilateral and World Trade Organization (WTO) trade
commitments. The PM has also assigned DPM Khiem responsibilities
for human rights and "related" issues. Notwithstanding Khiem's new
duties, a contact at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT)
thought that trade obligation issues would still be resolved at the
Ministerial level, or if necessary, go directly to the Prime
Minister for action, bypassing Khiem.

ANTI-CORRUPTION AND JUDICIAL REFORM
-----------------------------------

5. (U) DPM Truong Vinh Trong, the oldest of the five DPMs, will
serve as the "judicial czar." Trong will continue as Deputy
Chairman of the Central Anti-Corruption Steering Committee and
manage its day-to-day activities. He is also responsible for
overseeing the Government Inspectorate and judicial reform, among
other things.

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
----------------

6. (SBU) The first and youngest of the two new DPMs, Hoang Trung
Hai, has been tasked with "economic affairs," including industry,
agriculture, fisheries, trade and services (domestic and
export/import activities), construction, transportation, natural
resources and the environment. DPM Hai will oversee the Ministries
of Industry and Trade, Agriculture and Rural Development, and
Natural Resources and the Environment. The fact that Hai, who was
expected to handle all the economic ministries, did not get Finance
and international economic issues, was surprising, and we are told
by an MOIT contact that his lack of experience (at the state power
company and the Ministry of Industry) did not help.

7. (SBU) A contact who worked under Hai at Industry described the
new DPM as a skilled technocrat with great competency in the

HANOI 00001550 002 OF 002


industrial sector, as well as a savvy but cautious political
operator. The contact commented that Hai's careful approach may
limit his influence over the ministries under his portfolio. Others
were harsher in their assessment. National Assembly Vice Chairman
Nguyen Sy Dzung, for instance, said that Hai had a lackluster record
as Minister of Industry, and quoted former Prime Minister Vo Van
Khiet as saying that Hai, "did not have a good vision as Minister."
Despite this, Hai is seen as a rising star within the GVN and
someone whose power could continue to rise as he grows into his new
role.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING
----------------------

8. (SBU) Nguyen Thien Nhan, the second new Deputy Prime Minister,
will serve concurrently as Minister of Education and Training. In
addition, Nhan will oversee the Ministries of Information and
Communication, Science and Technology, Culture, Sports and Tourism
and the Vietnamese Institutes of Science and Technology and Social
Sciences. DPM Nhan is viewed as hard-charging and tough - a
reputation earned through his personal involvement in a successful
campaign to crack down on cheating on Vietnam's national exams, and
other similar efforts.

9. (SBU) Nhan's promotion to the position of DPM would seem a good
fit not only in terms of his working style - which he shares with
the PM - but also well-timed because the GVN is placing great focus
and effort into reforming its education system, including through
outreach to the U.S. Government, U.S. universities and other
international organizations. (Note: Nhan is a former Fulbright
Scholar with an MA from the University of Oregon. End note.)
According to Nguyen Chi Dzung, former Editor-in-Chief of the Office
of the National Assembly's Legislative Affairs Journal, DPM Nhan is
said to be a protege of President Nguyen Minh Triet, who believes
that large U.S. companies and organizations have a significant role
to play in helping Vietnam's development and growing global profile.
The Prime Minister is said to also share this view.

MICHALAK

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