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Cablegate: (U) Deputy Secretary Negroponte's September 11,

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O 120917Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8438
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001045

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OVIP NEGROPONTE JOHN MARR MASS PREL CH VM
SUBJECT: (U) DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE'S SEPTEMBER 11,
2008 CONVERSATION WITH VIETNAMESE VICE DEFENSE MINISTER
NGUYEN HUY HIEU

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. FOR INTERNAL USG USE. NOT
SUITABLE FOR INTERNET POSTING.

1. (U) September 11, 2008; 16:30; Hanoi, Vietnam.

2. (U) Participants:

U.S.
The Deputy Secretary
Ambassador Michael Michalak
DAS Scot Marciel
PolCouns Brian Aggeler
D Special Assistant Kaye Lee
D Special Assistant Ted Wittenstein
Marine and Naval Attache Major Tim Riesner
Poloff James O'Connor (notetaker)

VIETNAM
Vice Minister Nguyen Van Hieu
MFA Americas Dept. Director General Ba Hung
MND External Relations Deputy Dir. Pham Thai Minh
MND Foreign Liaison Chief Sr. Col Le Ho Can
MND Afr. and Americas Desk Dir. Nguyen Quan Vinh
MFA Americas Dept. Deputy Director Le Chi Dung

3. (SBU) SUMMARY. On September 11, the Deputy Secretary and
Vietnamese Vice Minister of National Defense Nguyen Van Hieu
agreed that U.S.-Vietnam ties have grown across the board,
with high-level exchanges over the last three years helping
to strengthen the relationship. VM Hieu reiterated Hanoi's
desire to solve the issue of competing claims in the South
China peacefully through use of the Law of the Sea. The two
leaders affirmed that U.S. oil companies should be able to
carry out business activities in the area. The Deputy
Secretary expressed U.S. desire to step up security talks in
light of the general positive trends in the relationship;
however, Hieu said Hanoi will continue to accommodate only
one U.S. ship visit per year. The Vice Minister stated that
the GVN has shared all relevant information concerning
Americans missing from the war. END SUMMARY.

---------------------------------
MIL-TO-MIL TIES GROW STEP-BY-STEP
---------------------------------

4. (SBU) Pointing to the many changes Vietnam has undergone
since his last trip to the country in 1973, the Deputy
Secretary expressed satisfaction that the USG enjoys positive
and strong relations with Hanoi. The two sides now cooperate
in many areas, especially in non-military fields. The Deputy
Secretary and VM Hieu agreed that the military-to-military
relationship is growing step-by-step.

5. (SBU) More military exchanges have taken place and U.S.
ships have paid visits to Vietnamese ports, although the U.S.
is limited to one port call per year, the Deputy Secretary
said. The Vice Minister pointed out that Hanoi is
diversifying its defense relations and that many countries
would like to send ships to Vietnam. For this reason, Hanoi
would continue to accommodate only one U.S. ship visit per
year. The Deputy Secretary and Vice Minister Hieu agreed
that the U.S. military student studying Vietnamese in Hanoi
and the two Vietnamese military officers studying English in
the United States are a manifestation of improving mil-to-mil
ties.

---------------
SOUTH CHINA SEA
---------------

6. (SBU) VM Hieu emphasized that the South China Sea issue is
rooted in history. Many countries have claims in the South
China Sea and China's claim covers a large area, he added.
He expressed Hanoi's desire to settle the issue peacefully
and in accord with the Law of the Sea. The Deputy Secretary
agreed that the issue should be resolved peacefully and that
U.S. oil companies should not be impeded from doing business
in the area. Hanoi is committed to protecting its
sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea and wants to
see U.S. oil companies working there, Vice Minister Hieu said.

----------------------
UPCOMING POL-MIL TALKS
----------------------

7. (SBU) The Deputy Secretary emphasized that the USG is open
to security discussions in the context of the overall
improvement in relations. VM Hieu responded that October's

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political-military talks represent another step forward in
the growing U.S.-Vietnam relationship. He said the MND will
send several representatives to the talks, which the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs will lead.

--------------------------------------------- -
LEGACY ISSUES AND HANOI'S PROCUREMENT REQUESTS
--------------------------------------------- -

8. (SBU) The two sides continue to make progress on war
legacy issues, with the Deputy Secretary referring to the
ongoing Joint Advisory Committee meetings on dioxin as
evidence of U.S. commitment. VM Hieu said his colleagues at
the MND have thoroughly searched all archives and provided
all relevant information to the USG on missing Americans and
promised to relay any relevant information that the MND finds
in these archives; however, he did not address the Deputy
Secretary's request for additional USG access to these
archives. The Vice Minister thanked the USG for a CD-Rom
with information on unaccounted-for Vietnamese and appealed
for more help in tracking down the roughly 300,000 Vietnamese
still missing. VM Hieu reiterated GVN requests for spare
parts for UH-1 helicopters and amphibious vehicles. He also
asked for the United States to supply Vietnam with
communication and radar equipment.

-----------
DATT'S VISA
-----------

9. (SBU) To the Deputy Secretary's appeal for the early
accreditation of the US Embassy's new Defense Attache, Vice
Minister Hieu responded that the MND has directed the
relevant agencies to step up processing of the request.
MICHALAK

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