Cablegate: Ambassador's Meeting with Vice Foreign Minister On Possible

DE RUEHHI #0484/01 1160919
O 250919Z APR 08 ZDK




E.O. 12958: N/A


HANOI 00000484 001.4 OF 003

1. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador Michalak discussed possible
deliverables for a visit to the United States by Vietnamese Prime
Minister Dung with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh
on April 25. The Ambassador noted that we need to make progress on
human rights before the visit. The Ambassador discussed possible
deliverables in education, climate change, civilian nuclear power
generation and several other areas. Minh was receptive, and said
the GVN would like a joint statement which could cover many of these
issues. End summary.

2. (SBU) Minh noted he had met with Assistant Secretary Hill and
NSC's Dennis Wilder the previous week to discuss details of the
visit. The GVN had proposed the dates of June 24-25 in Washington,
followed by visits to Texas and San Francisco. He said the GVN
would like to work together with the USG on a joint statement for
the visit. They would also like help in arranging visits with
Senate and Congressional leaders including Senators McCain, Obama
and Clinton. Minh said he would send a full list of requested
congressional meetings.

Ambassador: Need for Progress on Human Rights

3. (SBU) Minh asked whether a joint statement would have to address
human rights. The Ambassador replied that any joint statement would
certainly have to address human rights but that if we can make
progress in this area before the visit it will be easier to find
language upon which both sides can agree.

4. (SBU) The Ambassador noted that the bilateral Human Rights
Dialogue scheduled for May 29 is an opportunity to demonstrate some
progress. This could include releasing imprisoned activists such as
Le Thi Cong Nhan and Nguyen Van Dai; Nhan is eligible for amnesty
now and Dai will be eligible in the fall. It could also include
responding to long-standing requests by foreign news organizations
to open offices in Ho Chi Minh City (Note: Currently they are only
allowed to have offices in Hanoi. End note.)

5. (SBU) Minh said the GVN wants a signal that the USG does not
support anti-GVN activists. The Ambassador responded that he has
been very clear in his public statements that the USG does not
support specific organizations but does support the rights of
individuals to express their opinions freely without being thrown in

6. (SBU) The Ambassador said that if Amcit Nguyen Quoc Quan remains
imprisoned when the Prime Minister visits, his situation would be
sure to attract negative attention. Minh responded that the GVN
does not wish to continue holding Quan and wants to get him out of
Vietnam, but needs "quiet" from the U.S. side to avoid the
impression it is responding to U.S. pressure. He noted that Quan's
use of false identity documents was a very serious matter, which the
GVN regarded as terrorist activity. The Ambassador noted that it
has been two months since we were allowed a consular visit to Quan
despite repeated diplomatic notes requesting access, and appealed
again for permission for a consular officer to visit Quan.

7. (SBU) Minh asked for assistance in ensuring that
Vietnamese-Americans opposed to the GVN do not disrupt the visit.
The Ambassador responded that we do not control the actions of these
individuals but share the GVN's desire to make the visit a success.

GVN Seeks U.S. Investment

8. (SBU) On deliverables for the visit, Minh said the GVN would like
to see several concrete results on the economic side. The GVN would
like to see increased U.S. investment in Vietnam, particularly in
the oil and gas sector. This was the primary reason for the PM's
visit to Texas, where he will visit the leaders of oil and gas
companies as well as high-tech companies and encourage them to
invest in Vietnam.

9. (SBU) The Ambassador agreed that we could aim for results in this
area; at least two investment possibilities could be ready by the
visit. One is for GE to open a facility manufacturing wind turbines
in Haiphong for export - it has been approved in principle but the
license has not yet been granted. Another is an investment by
Sabre, whose production of software for airline ticketing ties in
thematically with the Prime Minister's desire to begin direct
flights between Vietnam and the United States.

Possible Deliverables: Education, Climate Change
--------------------------------------------- ---

HANOI 00000484 002.4 OF 003

10. (SBU) The Ambassador suggested that deliverables could be
grouped into three or four major baskets. Given the Prime
Minister's focus on education, we could either sign a letter of
intent or simply issue a statement of cooperation which would set up
a joint task force to examine the feasibility of U.S. assistance to
Vietnam on an American university. Minh noted the GVN's proposal
that the GVN provide facilities while the U.S. provides teaching
staff, and said Germany and Britain are already well along on
establishing universities in Vietnam. The Ambassador noted that we
have been in touch with Vietnam's Ministry of Education and Training
as well as U.S. universities but that, given the short time before
the visit and the number of details involved, a task force would
give us time to address them.

11. (SBU)On climate change, the Ambassador suggested that we could
announce the formation of a working group under our existing S&T
agreement to address climate change in Vietnam, as Vietnam likely
will be one of the countries most severely impacted by climate
change. Minh responded that this would be of great interest to the
GVN. The Ambassador said that various U.S. agencies already have
provided assistance in this area and that we expect to expand these
programs, while bringing in new U.S. participants.

12. (SBU) The Ambassador said that, either as a subset of climate
change or as a separate package, we could also agree to work with
the GVN on signing agreements and providing a program of technical
assistance to help Vietnam develop the safety and security
infrastructure necessary for a a civilian nuclear power program. We
could announce expanded technical cooperation on DOE/NNSA agreements
with the Vietnam Atomic Energy Commission and the Vietnam Agency for
Radiation and Nuclear Safety & Control (VARANSAC), agreement between
DOE/NNSA and Vietnam's Ministry of Science and Technology on next
steps towards full conversion of the nuclear research reactor at
Dalat and for the removal of spent Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)
from Dalat to the Russian Federation.

13. (SBU) We believe that we can schedule the signing of an MOU for
technical cooperation between the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
and VARANSAC. We could also announce plans to negotiate/sign a
Section 123 [of 1954 Atomic Energy Act] Agreement for Cooperation,
which would allow commercial technology transfers for the
development of a civilian nuclear power sector or, if deemed
untimely, beginnegotiations for a broader nuclear cooperation MOU
until the time we can sign the Section 123 Agreement. Another
deliverable in this area would be a USTDA-funded Orientation Visit
for Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) and GVN officials to the United
States to learn about nuclear power.

Economic/Commercial Deliverables

14. (SBU) On the economic side, the Ambassador noted we cannot yet
say the GVN qualifies as a market economy but a deliverable could be
in the form of an announcement of a bilateral working group to study
the roadmap toward market economy designation, perhaps under the
auspices of the TIFA. The team the GVN will be sending to the U.S.
in May to discuss the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT ) will help
determine whether we will be ready to announce the beginning of BIT
negotiations in time for the visit.

15. (SBU) On GSP, the Ambassador noted thorny issues like labor and
IPR, but added that these are areas where we would like to move
forward and work together. This could be pursued through technical
assistance and our next Labor Dialogue this fall.

16. (SBU) Infrastructure assistance is another possibility, the
Ambassador said. USTDA is working with Vinalines to fund a port
logistics study to determine current container movement and forecast
trade growth in Vietnam, particularly in the South. The study would
be used to determine the impact of this growth on current logistics
systems in Vietnam and identify areas of future need.

17. (SBU) The Ambassador noted that during his recent visit to
Vietnam HHS Secretary Leavitt agreed with the MOH to draft and sign
an MOU on Product Safety by the time of the PM's visit; part of that
MOU or under that MOU could be a separate set of deliverables on
food safety.

18. (SBU) On trade, the Ambassador noted that we are pushing hard
for approval for Vietnam to export several types of fruit to the
U.S. In return, we would like GVN assistance on increased access to
the Vietnamese market for U.S. beef.

Consulate Question, Adoptions, Security, Peace Corps
--------------------------------------------- -------

HANOI 00000484 003.4 OF 003

19. (SBU) The Ambassador said we are very supportive of the GVN's
opening a consulate in Houston, and we hope to see this done in
connection with resolving the Ho Chi Minh consular district issue.
Minh said it would be good for the Prime Minister to see the opening
of the new Houston consulate. The Ambassador responded that if the
Ho Chi Minh consular district issue is resolved that could indeed be
possible. Minh said we could work on this issue.

20. (SBU) On adoptions, we hope Vietnam will announce its intention
to join the Hague Convention before our current agreement expires on
September 1 - this could help address the widespread abuses in the
current adoption system in Vietnam. Minh responded that this was an
issue for the Ministry of Justice, but Vietnam certainly does not
want to see misuse of the adoption process.

21. (SBU) On the security side, the Ambassador said Vietnam's
joining PSI was one possibility. Vietnamese engagement in the
Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative (GPOI) is another
possibility. Minh said he had requested a list of training courses,
and said once it is received he would work with the Ministry of
Defense to see where the GVN could participate.

22. (SBU) Progress towards an agreement on Peace Corps would depend
on the GVN engaging the Peace Corps directly, the Ambassador said.
Minh said the GVN would work on this.

23. (SBU) The Ambassador said we look forward to working with MFA as
well as the relevant ministries on these deliverables. Minh thanked
the Ambassador for sharing these ideas and said MFA looked forward
to advancing these deliverables for the visit.


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