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Cablegate: Ambassador Raises Climate Change and Nuclear Cooperation In

VZCZCXRO3452
RR RUEHAST RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHTM
DE RUEHHI #0966 2320024
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 190024Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8331
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 5037
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS HANOI 000966

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/EP, OES/EGC, OES/STC
STATE ALSO FOR T (JWOLCOTT, MHUMPHREY), ISN/NESS
(ABURKART,PMCNERNEY), ISN/RA (RBEISECKER) AND EAP/MLS
STATE PASS TO NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION (KFOGGIE,
JMCLELLAND-KERR, SBURNS)
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE, G/ENV, EGAT/ESP (CHIP BARBER)
STATE PASS TO EPA/OIA (DENNIS CUNNINGHAM AND MARK KASMAN)
STATE PASS TO NOAA/NOS/OIA (JONATHAN JUSTI)
USDA FOR FOREST SERVICE/INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS (CYNTHIA MACKIE AND
KELLI YOUNG)
BANGKOK PASS TO RDMA
ENERGY FOR DOE/NE (EMCGINNIS, CWELLING), NNSA/NA-21 (SFRAZER, KAPT,
DKOVACIC, SDICKERSON, IBOLSHINSKY, SMOSES, ABIENIAWSKI)
INTERIOR FOR USGS/NWRC (GSMITH)
COMMERCE PLEASE PASS TO USTDA (DROSSITER)
COMMERCE FOR ITA/MAC/HONG-PHONG PHO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ENRG ECON KGHG VM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RAISES CLIMATE CHANGE AND NUCLEAR COOPERATION IN
MEETING WITH VIETNAMESE SCIENCE MINISTER

1. (SBU) In his meeting with Minister Hoang Van Phong of the
Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Ambassador Michalak
highlighted growing U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation on science and
technology and the importance those issues played in making
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's recent visit to the
United States a success. Ambassador Michalak urged Vietnam to join
the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and participate in the
upcoming GNEP Ministerial. The Ambassador also stressed U.S.
interest in signing a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) for Cooperation in Nuclear Energy and Other Energy Fields and
emphasized that this MOU would be a stepping stone towards a
"Section 123" Agreement and eventual U.S. nuclear equipment and
technology exports to Vietnam.

2. (SBU) Ambassador Michalak noted the creation of the United
States-Vietnam climate change working group and that Dr. Gregory
Smith, the Director of the National Wetlands Research Center of the
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), would serve as the U.S. co-chair.
The Ambassador stated that we were anxious to learn the name of the
Vietnamese co-chair so that we could make the committee operational.
Additionally, the Ambassador noted that Dr. Smith planned to visit
Vietnam this September to prepare for the opening of the
USGS-supported Delta Research and Global Observation Network
(DRAGON) Institute in Can Tho and to meet with GVN officials for
broader climate change discussions.

3. (SBU) Minister Phong focused on increasing bilateral cooperation
on science and technology, particularly U.S. support for educational
and research exchanges. After thanking the Ambassador for U.S.
assistance to upgrade intellectual property and atomic energy laws,
Phong highlighted nuclear technology and climate change as future
priority areas. On nuclear technology, Phong highlighted nuclear
physics and chemistry and reactor technology to help Vietnam develop
and operate nuclear reactors. Phong noted his desire to meet with
Dr. Smith during Smith's upcoming visit. Phong stressed his desire
for U.S. financial support for joint research projects, though he
noted that the Government of Vietnam (GVN) had set aside some
funding to contribute to these ventures Ambassador Michalak offered
to help organize meetings with U.S. participants in the upcoming
APEC Innovation Symposium in Hanoi.

Comment
-------

4. (SBU) Prior to becoming MOST Minister in 2002, Phong spent 26
years at the Hanoi University of Technology, the last five as
rector. This background explains his strong focus on science and
technology research and increased educational exchanges. He was
less familiar with U.S.-Vietnam nuclear nonproliferation and
cooperation discussions and did not respond to Ambassador Michalak's
points on GNEP or the broader nuclear MOU. Special Envoy for
Nuclear Nonproliferation Ambassador Wolcott will be able to raise
these issues again when she meets later this week with MOST
Vice-Minister Tran Quoc Thang, who covers this portfolio.

MICHALAK

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