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Cablegate: Vietnamese Science Minister Supports Nuclear Initiatives,

VZCZCXRO2517
RR RUEHAST RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHTM
DE RUEHHI #1267/01 3220804
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170804Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8735
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 5301
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001267

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)
ENERGY FOR DOE/NE (EMCGINNIS, CWELLING), NNSA/NA-21 (SFRAZER, KAPT,
DKOVACIC, SDICKERSON, IBOLSHINSKY, SMOSES, ABIENIAWSKI)
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: VIETNAMESE SCIENCE MINISTER SUPPORTS NUCLEAR INITIATIVES,
QUESTION IS TIMING

Ref: A. Hanoi 1048 B. Hanoi 966

HANOI 00001267 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) This is an action cable. Please see paragraph 4.

2. (SBU) In his meeting with Minister of Science and Technology
Hoang Van Phong, Ambassador Michalak pressed for quick movement by
the Government of Vietnam (GVN) to sign a bilateral Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) for Cooperation in Nuclear Energy and Other
Energy Fields and to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership
(GNEP). Minister Hoang supported rapid action, but stated that it
was unlikely the GVN could complete its review in time for Deputy
Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai to sign the MOU while in Washington
next week. Instead, he suggested Ambassador Michalak sign the MOU
with him or another high-ranking official in Hanoi. On joining
GNEP, Minister Hoang stated it was a question of when, not if.
However, the GVN wanted to complete its ongoing planning for the
long-term development of the nuclear power sector before joining the
GNEP partnership. End Summary.

Ambassador Urges Quick GVN Action on MOU
----------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Ambassador Michalak urged the GVN to accelerate its
consideration of the nuclear cooperation MOU to allow Deputy Prime
Minister Hai to sign the document while meeting with U.S. energy
officials in Washington D.C. next week. Various ministries,
including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of
Industry and Trade (which is overseeing the development of Vietnam's
first civilian nuclear power plants) had already voiced their
support for the agreement (Ref A). As the Ministry of Science and
Technology (MOST) has primary responsibility for regulating the
nuclear sector, Ambassador Michalak again urged MOST to promptly
push the document through the GVN bureaucracy.

GVN Wheels Turning, but Not Yet in High Gear
--------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Clearly better prepared to discuss nuclear energy than at
their last meeting in August (Ref B), Minister Phong stated that
MOST had circulated the document for review by relevant ministries,
but had not yet received all input. He would try to speed up the
process, but did not think the GVN could be ready to sign the MOU by
next week. Indeed, Deputy Prime Minister Hai did not have direct
responsibility for the nuclear sector and it would be precedent
setting for him to sign, instead of the Deputy Prime Minister who
covered science and technology or the MOST minister himself (Note:
Though this makes sense, none of interlocutors raised this issue
until now). Instead, Minister Phong suggested that Ambassador
Michalak could sign the MOU for the United States in Hanoi together
with a representative from the GVN. Alternately, Vietnamese
Ambassador Phuong could sign the MOU with the Department of Energy
in Washington, though Phong preferred the first option.

4. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Please inform us if Ambassador Michalak
has authority to sign this MOU on behalf of the U.S. Government. If
so, we will quickly notify MOST, hopefully spurring them to finalize
the document for signature.

GNEP: Yes, Yes, but Wait
------------------------

5. (SBU) In response to the Ambassador's advocacy for Vietnamese
participation in GNEP, Minister Phong saw many advantages to joining
the partnership. However, the issue is timing. Phong noted that
the GVN was discussing its long term nuclear power strategy and
wanted to complete that planning before signing onto GNEP. Minister
Phong then emphasized his desire to increase U.S. training for
Vietnamese nuclear technicians, particularly in the areas of nuclear
reactor safety and nuclear regulatory development.

Comment
-------


HANOI 00001267 002.2 OF 002


6. (SBU) The GVN will not be ready for Deputy Prime Minister Hai to
sign the MOU in Washington next week. However, the document finally
has made its way out of MOST. We hope that Minister Phong's
increased attention and involvement will speed intra-GVN
consideration. After all, the MOU makes the capacity building that
he envisions more likely.

MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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