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Cablegate: Dpo's Meeting with Standing Deputy Secretary of Hcmc Communist Party Committee

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


2001HOCHI01316 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ7154

PAGE 01 HO CHI 01316 231000Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 COME-00 DOTE-00 DS-00
EB-00 OIGO-00 E-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00 VC-00
TEDE-00 INR-00 LAB-01 VCE-00 DCP-01 NSAE-00 OES-01
IRM-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 EPAE-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02
NFAT-00 SAS-00 /005W
------------------422B76 231000Z /38
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5725
AMEMBASSY HANOI
DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS HO CHI MINH CITY 001316

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/BCLTV

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: BEXP BTIO ECON ECIN ETRD PGOV PREL VM BTA
SUBJECT: DPO'S MEETING WITH STANDING DEPUTY SECRETARY OF HCMC COMMUNIST PARTY COMMITTEE

1. SUMMARY: DPO MET WITH VO VAN CUONG, STANDING DEPUTY
SECRETARY OF THE HCMC COMMUNIST PARTY COMMITTEE (CPC),

SIPDIS
NOVEMBER 8, ACCOMPANIED BY ECONOFF AND CONOFF. CUONG
SAID HCMC HAS HISTORICALLY BEEN A "LAB" FOR PARTY
POLICY FORMULATION, BUT STRESSED THAT FINAL ACTION ON
"EXPERIMENTS" RESTS WITH THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE IN
HANOI. CUONG SAID HE HOPED THE USG WOULD PLAY A
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HO CHI 01316 231000Z
SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN LINKING U.S. AND VIETNAMESE
BUSINESSES AS BOTH SIDES IMPLEMENT THE BTA. ASKED
ABOUT CONTROLS ON INTERNET ACCESS, HE STATED THE PARTY
UNDERSTANDS VIETNAM MUST BE MORE OPEN FOR THE COUNTRY
TO SUCCEED IN THE GLOBAL MARKET. END SUMMARY.

2. CUONG WELCOMED DPO TO HCMC, AND SAID THAT HCMC HAS
HISTORICALLY BEEN A "LAB" FOR EXPERIMENTATION ON POLICY
FORMATION. HE CITED THREE EXAMPLES ON THE SOCIAL
FRONT: POVERTY REDUCTION AND HUNGER ELIMINATION,
"HOUSES OF COMPASSION" AND "HOUSES OF GRATITUDE."
(NOTE: THE LATTER TWO ARE SOCIAL PROGRAMS PROVIDING
HOUSING TO POOR FAMILIES AND TO FAMILIES WHO LOST
MEMBERS DURING THE WAR.) HE ADDED THAT THE HCMC CPC IS
CURRENTLY FOCUSED ON A NUMBER OF OTHER SOCIAL AND
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS, NOTING HE IS IN CHARGE
OF MONITORING AND IMPLEMENTING ALL PROGRAMS DEVELOPED
BY THE CPC. HE CITED PROGRAMS ON STREET CRIME,
PROSTITUTION, AND DRUG USE AS EXAMPLES. HE ALSO CITED
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR THE
POOR AS EXAMPLES OF PROGRAMS SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSING
PROBLEMS CREATED BY HCMC'S RAPID POPULATION GROWTH.

3. CUONG SAID THAT, ON THE ECONOMIC SIDE, HCMC HAS BEEN
THE TESTING GROUND FOR MANY PILOT PROJECTS. THE CITY'S
DYNAMISM HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THE SUCCESS AND EVENTUAL
NATIONWIDE IMPLEMENTATION OF MANY OF THESE PROJECTS.
DPO SUGGESTED HCMC'S DYNAMISM WILL BE AN IMPORTANT
FACTOR IN THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BTA,
INTIMATING THE HCMC CPC WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO
PLAY A DIRECT ROLE IN CREATING THE CONDITIONS FOR
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HO CHI 01316 231000Z
SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. RESPONDING TO A
FOLLOW-ON POINT ABOUT INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE
INTERNET, CUONG SAID EXPLICITLY THAT THE CPC
UNDERSTANDS THERE WILL HAVE TO BE MORE OPENNESS IN
ORDER FOR VIETNAM TO BE COMPETITIVE IN THE GLOBAL
MARKETPLACE.

4. CUONG SAID HE HOPES FOR BILATERAL COOPERATION ON BTA
IMPLEMENTATION, IN ORDER TO MAKE THE BTA BENEFICIAL FOR
BOTH SIDES. HE SAID THE GVN IS IN THE PROCESS OF
REVIEWING ITS POLICIES AT THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEVEL
IN ORDER TO FIND AND ROOT OUT BARRIERS TO SUCCESSFUL
IMPLEMENTATION. HE ADDED THAT HE HOPES CONGEN HCMC
WILL PLAY A LEADING ROLE IN LINKING U.S. AND VIETNAMESE
BUSINESSES AND LOOKS FORWARD TO A CLOSER WORKING
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE USG AND GVN.

5. TURNING TO THE DELICATE ISSUE OF PRESS COVERAGE, DPO
ASKED HOW THE CONSULATE GENERAL COULD BEST WORK TO
ADDRESS A LACK OF BALANCE IN VIETNAMESE PRESS REPORTING
ON THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM IN AFGHANISTAN. CUONG
REPLIED THAT, ALTHOUGH HE DID NOT KNOW THE DETAILS
ABOUT HOW REPORTING IS DEVELOPED, NEWSPAPERS IN VIETNAM
REPORT NEWS ONLY "TO THE LEVEL OF THEIR KNOWLEDGE." IN
ADDITION TO INCOMPLETE INFORMATION, CUONG SAID ANOTHER
PROBLEM THE PRESS FACES IS THE GROWING
COMMERCIALIZATION OF THE PAPERS AND A RESULTING
SENSATIONALISM OF THE NEWS AS THE MEDIA COMPETES TO
"MAKE A BUCK." HE SAID THERE HAVE BEEN CASES WHERE THE
PARTY ITSELF HAS BEEN DISPLEASED WITH PRESS REPORTING.
AT THE END OF THE DISCUSSION HE SAID HE "TOOK NOTE" OF
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HO CHI 01316 231000Z
THE ISSUE. (NOTE: ALTHOUGH THERE IS CONSIDERABLE
LEEWAY IN THE WAY EDITORS CAN PRESENT THE NEWS, WE HAVE
BEEN TOLD THEY MUST CLEAR THEIR MATERIAL BEFORE IT IS
PUBLISHED TO ENSURE IT IS IN LINE WITH PARTY VIEWS --
WHICH ON IMPORTANT ISSUES ARE DETERMINED IN HANOI.)

6. COMMENT: THIS MEETING FOUND CUONG MORE WILLING TO
ENGAGE THAN IN THE PAST, WHILE STILL FOCUSED ON SET
RESPONSES TO SENSITIVE TOPICS. ON ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT, IN PARTICULAR, IT IS NOTEWORTHY THAT THIS
CPC OFFICIAL EXPRESSED HIGH HOPES FOR THE BTA AND
AGREED PROPER IMPLEMENTATION IS IMPORTANT AND WILL
REQUIRE SOME CHANGES. HE ALSO CONFIRMED HCMC'S ROLE AS
AN INCUBATOR FOR NEW IDEAS -- AND WAS EVEN QUICK TO
PICK UP ON THE NEED FOR MORE OPENNESS TO ATTRACT
FOREIGN BUSINESS. IT WILL BE IMPORTANT TO DEVELOP
PROGRAMS EARLY ON, WHICH WILL HELP HCMC CAPITALIZE ON
THE BTA AND BECOME A MODEL FOR MODERN BUSINESS
PRACTICES COUNTRYWIDE. YAMAUCHI

UNCLASSIFIED

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