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Cablegate: Ambassador's Meeting with Vice Minister Bin On President Clinton's Visit to Vietnam

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

220853Z Nov 00

2000HANOI02557 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ2800

PAGE 01 HANOI 02557 01 OF 02 220907Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00
DS-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 VCE-00
NSAE-00 IRM-00 SSO-00 SS-00 DSCC-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
/000W
------------------A27BEC 220907Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1367

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 002557

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/BCLTV

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL VM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH VICE MINISTER BIN ON PRESIDENT CLINTON'S VISIT TO VIETNAM


1. (SBU) AMBASSADOR ON NOVEMBER 22 CALLED ON MFA
SENIOR VICE MINISTER BIN TO REVIEW THE RESULTS OF THE
RECENTLY CONCLUDED VISIT BY PRESIDENT CLINTON. THE
AMBASSADOR BEGAN BY THANKING THE VIETNAMESE SIDE FOR
ITS COOPERATION AND EXPRESSED THE PRESIDENT'S AND THE
FIRST LADY'S SATISFACTION WITH THE VISIT AND THE
MEETINGS THEY HAD WITH VIETNAMESE OFFICIALS. THE
AMBASSADOR NOTED ONE OF THE MAJOR SUCCESSES OF THE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02557 01 OF 02 220907Z
VISIT WAS THE IMAGE OF VIETNAM WHICH WAS TRANSMITTED
BACK TO THE U.S. AND AROUND THE WORLD. NO LONGER, HE
SAID, COULD PEOPLE PRETEND VIETNAM WAS STILL THE WAY
THEY HAD SEEN IT IN THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES AND
EXPECT OTHER PEOPLE TO BELIEVE THEM. VIETNAM'S
RELATIONS WITH ASEAN AND THE REST OF THE WORLD HAD BEEN
ENHANCED BECAUSE PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD ALSO WERE ABLE
TO SEE VIETNAM AND THE U.S. HAD DEVELOPED A
RELATIONSHIP WHICH MATCHED THEIR OWN AND THAT VIETNAM
WAS NOW IN THE SAME BALLPARK WITH MOST OF ITS ASEAN
NEIGHBORS.

2. (SBU) THE AMBASSADOR SAID U.S. POLICY TOWARD VIETNAM
HAD BEEN GIVEN A NEW DIRECTION BY THE VISIT AND
PARTICULARLY NOTED THE PRESIDENT'S COMMITMENT OF THE
U.S. TO WORK WITH VIETNAM ON ITS REFORM AND OPENING
POLICY. HE NOTED THE U.S. WOULD MAKE ITS SUGGESTIONS,
BUT THE PACE AND DECISIONS WOULD ALL BE ONES MADE BY
THE VIETNAMESE LEADERSHIP. THE U.S., HE SAID, WOULD
NOT BE "FORCING" ANY STEPS OR ACTIONS ON THE VIETNAMESE
WHICH THEY WERE NOT PREPARED TO TAKE ON THEIR OWN.
CONTRASTING HIS OWN READING OF U.S. HISTORY WITH THAT
OF PARTY GENERAL SECRETARY PHIEU, THE AMBASSADOR
DECLARED THE U.S. HAS NEVER HAD "IMPERIALIST" DESIGNS
ON OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD.

3. (SBU) THE AMBASSADOR DETAILED A NUMBER OF EVENTS --
THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE WELCOMING CEREMONY, THE
OFFICIAL BANQUET AND ENTERTAINMENT, AND THE FAREWELL
CALL, AS WELL AS THE MEETINGS -- WHICH THE PRESIDENT
AND MRS. CLINTON HAD FOUND VALUABLE AND WELL-ORGANIZED.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02557 01 OF 02 220907Z
HE SAID THE PRESIDENT WAS PARTICULARLY IMPRESSED WITH
PRESIDENT LUONG AND HIS DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE
ISSUES. HE PRAISED THE MEETING WITH PM KHAI FOR ITS
FOCUS ON WAYS IN WHICH TO BUILD THE BILATERAL
RELATIONSHIP AND TO MOVE ECONOMIC ISSUES AND THE BTA
INTO GREATER FUTURE FOCUS. THE AMBASSADOR EXPRESSED
CONCERN PARTY GENERAL SECRETARY PHIEU HAD MISSED AN
OPPORTUNITY TO ADD TO THAT IMAGE OF PROGRESS BY
FOCUSING ON AN IDEOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION OF RELATIONS
WHICH SUGGESTED HE MIGHT BE PUSHING AWAY THE HAND OF
FRIENDSHIP WHICH WAS BEING OFFERED BY PRESIDENT
CLINTON. THE AMBASSADOR SAID HE HAD HEARD LOCAL
VIETNAMESE ALSO EXPRESSING SOME DISSATISFACTION WITH
THIS IMAGE OF PHIEU BASED ON ITS PORTRAYAL IN THE LOCAL
PRESS.

4. (SBU) THE AMBASSADOR ASKED THE VIETNAMESE TO
PROVIDE US WITH MORE INFORMATION ON THE TWO INDIVIDUALS
WHO HAD BEEN PICKED UP SWIMMING NEAR THE CONTAINER PORT
WHICH RESULTED IN THE VIETNAMESE PUBLIC SECURITY FORCES
DECISION TO MOVE THE APL CONTAINER VESSEL THERE. HE
ALSO NOTED HIS PERSONAL CONCERN ABOUT THE ROLE OF LY
TONG IN DUMPING LEAFLETS OVER THE CITY AS THE
PRESIDENT'S VISIT WAS BEGINNING. HE SAID HE UNDERSTOOD
THE THAI GOVERNMENT HAD ARRESTED HIM FOR HIJACKING AND
THAT THERE HAD BEEN SOME DISCUSSION OF HIS BEING
PROSECUTED IN THE U.S. AS WELL. THE AMBASSADOR SAID
THE U.S. HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE MATTER AND CONDEMNED
HIJACKING AS A "DANGEROUS ACT" WHICH SHOULD NOT GO
UNPUNISHED.

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 02557 01 OF 02 220907Z
5. (SBU) THE AMBASSADOR CONCLUDED BY COMMENDING VICE
MINISTER BIN AND THROUGH HIM ALL OF THE MFA STAFF WHO
HAD GONE OUT OF THEIR WAY TO MAKE THIS VISIT SO
SUCCESSFUL. HE PARTICULARLY COMMENDED PROTOCOL
DIRECTOR LUU FOR HIS GOOD WORK. HE SAID THE PRESIDENT
DEPARTED VIETNAM WITH A VERY WARM AND COMFORTABLE
FEELING ABOUT VIETNAM AND ITS PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE HAD
REACTED WITH A GENUINE SHOW OF ENTHUSIASM AND AFFECTION
WHICH DEEPLY TOUCHED ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S.
TEAM. HE THEN SUGGESTED BIN AND HIS STAFF MEET WITH
HIM AND EMBASSY PERSONNEL IN THE COMING WEEKS TO TAKE A
LOOK AT NEXT STEPS TO BUILD THE RELATIONSHIP AND TO
BETTER DELINEATE VIETNAMESE PRIORITIES.

6. (SBU) VICE MINISTER BIN THANKED THE AMBASSADOR FOR
HIS WORDS OF PRAISE AND FOR HIS FRANK ASSESSMENT OF THE
VISIT, SAYING HE TOO SHARED MANY OF THESE CONCLUSIONS,
ESPECIALLY THAT THE OVERALL VISIT WAS A BIG SUCCESS.
IN STOCK FORMULATION, BIN SAID THE VISIT WAS GOOD
BECAUSE IT ENHANCED MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE
COUNTRIES AND PEOPLES AND THAT IT PROVIDED AN
OPPORTUNITY FOR BOTH SIDES TO PLEDGE THEIR COOPERATION
ON HEALING THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR. CHIDING THE
U.S. SIDE BECAUSE OF ITS EFFORTS TO CUT OUT THE
FAREWELL AT THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE AND TO SIGN
BILATERAL AGREEMENTS IN ADVANCE OF THE VISIT, BIN SAID
"I TOLD YOU WE COULD PROVIDE GOOD CEREMONIES. IT WAS
IMPORTANT FOR THE TWO PRESIDENTS TO WITNESS THE
SIGNINGS AND FOR PEOPLE TO SEE THE OFFICIAL FAREWELL."
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02557 02 OF 02 220907Z

7. (SBU) HE URGED THE U.S. SIDE TO PUSH FORWARD WITH
RATIFICATION OF THE BTA AND TO PROVIDE VIETNAM WITH
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO HELP VIETNAM MEET ITS
OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE AGREEMENT. HE WELCOMED THE U.S.
INITIATIVE ON THE ECONOMIC DIALOGUE BUT URGED THE U.S.
NOW TO "PROVIDE INSIGHT" INTO THE PROCESS SO VIETNAM
MIGHT DESIGNATE THE APPROPRIATE AGENCY CONTACT PERSONS
TO WORK ON THIS ISSUE. HE SAID HE HOPED THE NEW S&T
AGREEMENT WOULD PROVIDE THE BASIS FOR FURTHER DEEPENING
OF SPECIFIC COOPERATION AND SAID HE HOPED THE DIALOGUE
ON DIOXINS IN SINGAPORE NEXT WEEK WOULD HAVE GOOD
RESULTS. HE REINFORCED VIETNAMESE COMMITMENT TO
HEALING THE WOUNDS OF WAR THROUGH MIA ASSISTANCE TO THE
U.S. AND THANKED THE U.S. FOR ADDRESSING THESE ISSUES
IN ITS PRESENTATIONS DURING THE VISIT. BIN PRAISED THE
U.S. CONTRIBUTIONS TO DEMINING ACTIVITIES AND TO
PLEDGES REGARDING DETOXIFICATION OF SITES. HE URGED
THE U.S. TO CONSIDER PROVIDING SOME "APPROPRIATE FORMS
OF ASSISTANCE" FOR VIETNAM, "WHILE WE ARE DOING THE
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON AGENT ORANGE." ACCORDING TO
BIN, PRESIDENT LUONG WAS VERY TOUCHED BY THE AMOUNT OF
ASSISTANCE THE U.S. HAD PROVIDED TO HELP VIETNAM TO
COPE WITH NATURAL DISASTERS AND WAS PLEASED BY THE
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WARNING SYSTEM ASSISTANCE. HE
REVEALED THAT THE PRIME MINISTER HAD DECIDED TO
COOPERATE WITH THE U.S. AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
ON A MEETING IN 2001 ON SAFETY FOR CHILDREN. (NOTE:
THIS IS THE FIRST FORMAL INDICATION THE VIETNAMESE
PRIME MINISTER HAS TAKEN THIS ISSUE TO HEART AND HAS
MADE IT A NATIONAL COMMITMENT. END NOTE)
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02557 02 OF 02 220907Z

8. (SBU) DISCUSSING THE SECRETARY GENERAL'S MEETING
WITH THE PRESIDENT, BIN SAID PHIEU WAS EXPRESSING THE
VIEWS AND POSITIONS OF VIETNAM AS AN "INDEPENDENT"
COUNTRY. HE NOTED EACH PERSON HAD HIS OWN "STYLE AND
MANNER" AND NOTED THAT PHIEU SPOKE VERY FRANKLY TO THE
PRESIDENT IN THEIR MEETING. TRYING TO GIVE THE MEETING
CONTENT A MORE POSITIVE SPIN, BIN REMARKED THAT PHIEU
HAD INVITED THE PRESIDENT AND HIS FAMILY TO RETURN TO
VIETNAM ONCE HE WAS NO LONGER IN OFFICE. HE AGAIN
THANKED THE AMBASSADOR FOR HIS ASSESSMENT AND FOR HIS
PRAISE OF THE MFA TEAM AND THOSE OF OTHER COLLEAGUES.
HE EXTENDED SIMILAR PRAISE TO THE EMBASSY, CONGEN, AND
WASHINGTON PERSONNEL WHO HAD HELPED TO MAKE THE VISIT
AN IMPORTANT HISTORICAL EVENT FOR BOTH SIDES.

9. (SBU) SEPTELS PROVIDE DETAILS ON BIN'S PRESENTATION
REGARDING LY TONG AND THE TEXT OF A DIPLOMATIC NOTE ON
THAT SUBJECT.

PETERSON

UNCLASSIFIED

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