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Cablegate: Hue Provincial Leaders Talk Green Development, Clean

VZCZCXRO5673
OO RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #1406 3640242
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 290242Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8939
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 5437

UNCLAS HANOI 001406

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS and DRL/IRF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM VM

SUBJECT: HUE PROVINCIAL LEADERS TALK GREEN DEVELOPMENT, CLEAN
GOVERNMENT, AND GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY

Ref A) 07 Hanoi 1817

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Hue provincial officials are pushing for clean
industry. In discussions with the DCM, Provincial People's
Committee Chairman Nguyen Ngoc Thien argued that green development
is necessary both to protect Hue's large and growing tourist
industry and to differentiate Hue from its larger and more
industrial neighbor Danang. Thien also claimed to be putting into
place measures to ensure a rationalized, more transparent
bureaucracy as a means to fight corruption. In separate meetings
December 9-10, Thien and his colleague, Communist Party Vice Chair
Nguyen Van Cuong, agreed that eliminating district-level people's
councils would be a useful step in streamlining the bureaucracy, but
argued for a delay in instituting direct elections of commune-level
People's Committee chairmen. END SUMMARY.

Clean, Green...
---------------

2. (SBU) Meeting the DCM December 10, the Chairman of the Hue
Provincial People's Committee Nguyen Ngoc Thien emphasized the
importance of clean industry in and around Hue, arguing that
polluting industries, while profitable in the short term, would put
Hue's tourist industry in jeopardy. Noting that green development
would also serve to distinguish Hue from its more industrially
developed neighbor Danang, Thien pointed to a recent decision to
appoint a geologist working in the provincial department of natural
resource protection to run the province's new Chan May Lang Co
Economic Zone (reftel). According to Thien, Hue Province had
already turned down proposals from major Korean, Taiwanese, and
Indian steel companies that wanted to invest in the Zone out of
concern that the industries would be too polluting. Thien reported
that the Zone had secured investments for several large "green"
developments, including proposals by a Singaporean company ($875
million) and Saigon Invest Group ($400 million) to build resort
complexes. Thien acknowledged that plans for a high-tech zone are
progressing more slowly, but expressed optimism that Hue's stature
as a center for education would ultimately help in luring high-tech
companies to the area.

...Bureaucratically Lean and Mean
---------------------------------

3. (SBU) Turning to Hue's efforts to fight corruption, Thien argued
that the most important factor is transparency. Thien highlighted
efforts to create one-stop shopping for local services such as birth
certificates and land registration. Previously, each relevant
agency had its own commune-level office, and this stove-piping led
to inefficiency and corruption. But now, as a result of his
changes, each commune now has one caseworker who serves as an
ombudsman of sorts, coordinating with government agencies on the
resident's behalf. In separate meetings, Thien and his counterpart
on the Provincial People's Council, CPV Vice Chair Mr. Nguyen Van
Cuong, expressed general support for abolishing the People's Council
at the district level, arguing that because district People's
Councils have no budgetary oversight they essentially are middlemen
in the process. Eliminating the district-level Councils would free
up funding at the commune level and allow greater oversight from the
provinces, Cuong stated.

4. (SBU) Moving to the subject of "grassroots democracy," Thien and
Cuong were less enthusiastic about plans to allow the direct
election of People's Committee Chairmen at the commune level, and
voiced support for the National Assembly's decision to delay the
measure. The two argued that the National Assembly needs to first
alter other existing laws that require that the People's Council at
the commune level appoint the chairmen of the People's Committee to
avoid potential conflict.

5. (SBU) Bionote: Chairman Thien is a dynamic speaker and answered
readily answered questions from the DCM, even those that touched on
sensitive topics. Thien has been to the U.S. twice on trade
missions and speaks some English. He studied in the former USSR
(Ukraine) for 10 years. His father died during the Vietnam War.

MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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