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Cablegate: Presidential Travels Shore Up Relations Within Asean

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


2001HANOI03186 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ3756

PAGE 01 HANOI 03186 01 OF 02 041041Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00
CTME-00 DODE-00 ITCE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EXME-00
E-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 FRB-00 H-01 TEDE-00
INR-00 ITC-01 LAB-01 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 DCP-01
NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 ACE-00 SCT-00
SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
ASDS-01 EPAE-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
SWCI-00 /012W
------------------46A943 041041Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4935
INFO AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 003186

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/RSP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ETRD PTER CB BN IN VM ASEAN PH CTERR
SUBJECT: PRESIDENTIAL TRAVELS SHORE UP RELATIONS WITHIN ASEAN

1. (U) SUMMARY: PRESIDENT LUONG'S RECENT TRAVELS TO FOUR
FELLOW ASEAN MEMBERS PROMOTED GENERAL GOOD NEIGHBORLINESS
AND COMMON DESIRES FOR EXPANDED TRADE. WHILE "SUCCESSFUL,"
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 03186 01 OF 02 041041Z
THESE VISITS SEEM MEMORABLE PRIMARILY AS PHOTO OPS. THE
PRESIDENT DID CALL FOR COOPERATION AGAINST INTERNATIONAL
TERRORISM ON AT LEAST ONE STOP. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER HAS BEEN NOTEWORTHY FOR THE
NUMBER OF HIGH-LEVEL OFFICIAL VIETNAMESE VISITS ABROAD. IN
ADDITION TO THE CURRENT VISIT TO CHINA BY COMMUNIST PARTY
SECRETARY-GENERAL NONG DUC MANH, ONGOING VISITS TO SOUTH AND

SIPDIS
NORTH AMERICA BY DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER NGUYEN TAN DZUNG, AND
A EUROPEAN VOYAGE BY DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER NGUYEN MANH CAM,
VIETNAMESE PRESIDENT TRAN DUC LUONG VISITED FOUR ASEAN
NATIONS -- BRUNEI, CAMBODIA, INDONESIA, AND THE PHILIPPINES.
THIS FLURRY OF OFFICIAL VISITS COINCIDED WITH THE VIETNAMESE
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY'S WINTER SESSION AND THE NA'S NOVEMBER
28TH RATIFICATION OF THE US-VIETNAM BILATERAL TRADE
AGREEMENT.

2. (U) THE MFA BRIEFED US AND FRENCH DIPLOMATS ON PRESIDENT
LUONG'S TRAVELS ON NOVEMBER 21. ACCORDING TO THE MFA, THE
COMMON THEME ON PRESIDENT LUONG'S TRAVELS WAS PROMOTION OF
BILATERAL TIES RATHER THAN EXPANSION OF ASEAN RELATIONS,
ALONG WITH THE USUAL REFERENCES TO MUTUAL NON-INTERFERENCE
AND MUTUAL COOPERATION. LUONG'S REMARKS ALSO EMPHASIZED
ENHANCING TRADE AND FOSTERING POLITICAL STABILITY IN THE
REGION. MOST STOPS INCLUDED SIGNING OF VARIOUS AGREEMENTS
AND PROMISES TO PROMOTE BILATERAL TRADE.

3. (SBU) BRUNEI: THE VISIT TO BRUNEI NOVEMBER 12-14 WAS
SIGNIFICANT FOR NEW AGREEMENTS ON TOURISM AND TRADE. BRUNEI
EMBASSY SECOND SECRETARY SITI ZULIA HAJI TENGAH TOLD POLOFF
THAT HER COUNTRY WAS ESPECIALLY PLEASED THAT THE VIETNAMESE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 03186 01 OF 02 041041Z
HEAD OF STATE HAD FINALLY BEEN ABLE TO ACCEPT THE SULTAN'S
FOUR-YEAR-OLD INVITATION. DURING THE VISIT, THE TWO SIDES
SIGNED AN MOU ON BILATERAL COOPERATION DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE
GREATER AGRICULTURAL TRADE AND TOURISM. SHE PREDICTED,
HOWEVER, THAT OIL AND NATURAL GAS DEVELOPMENT BETWEEN THE
TWO PETROLEUM-EXPORTING STATES WILL BE LIMITED, GIVEN THAT
MALAYSIA SEEMS TO HAVE BEATEN BRUNEI TO THE PUNCH IN
VIETNAM'S OIL AND GAS SECTOR. SHE NOTED HER COUNTRY'S HOPES
THAT ANTICIPATED DIRECT AIR-SERVICE LINKING BANDAR SERI
BEGAWAN AND HO CHI MINH CITY WILL SPARK MORE PRIVATE SECTOR
INTEREST BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. SHE ADDED THAT NO
GOVERNMENT-TO-GOVERNMENT DIRECT TRADE IS EXPECTED OR PLANNED
AT THIS TIME.

4. (SBU) CAMBODIA: LUONG'S ARRIVAL IN PHNOM PENH ON
NOVEMBER 26TH MARKED THE FIRST VIETNAMESE PRESIDENTIAL VISIT
SINCE THEN-PRESIDENT LE DUCH ANH'S VISIT IN 1995. CAMBODIAN
EMBASSY SECOND SECRETARY CHIM VICHANY RATED LUONG'S MEETINGS
AS "VERY SUCCESSFUL." TRADE AND INVESTMENT, PARTICULARLY
ALONG THE BORDER, WERE THE PRIMARY TOPICS OF DISCUSSION.
BOTH SIDES AGREED THAT CITIZENS IN THE BORDER PROVINCES
WOULD NOT NEED TRAVEL DOCUMENTS TO CROSS, AND THAT EACH
INDIVIDUAL WOULD BE ALLOWED TO CARRY GOODS VALUED UP TO USD
35 DOLLAR DUTY FREE. VICHANY ALSO NOTED THAT PHNOM PENH WAS
LOOKING TO VIETNAM AND ITS RELATIVE ECONOMIC SUCCESS TO
ASSIST CAMBODIA IN DEVELOPING ITS OWN ECONOMY. CONTRARY TO
VIETNAMESE MEDIA REPORTS THAT DISCUSSIONS ON BORDER
DEMARCATION ARE CONTINUING IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF "MUTUAL
UNDERSTANDING AND GOOD NEIGHBORLINESS," VICHANY CLAIMED THAT
THIS ISSUE HAD ALREADY BEEN RESOLVED.

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 03186 01 OF 02 041041Z
5. (U) INDONESIA: BOTH SIDES HAVE EXPRESSED SATISFACTION
THAT THE NOVEMBER 10-12 VISIT FURTHERED THE SPIRIT OF
COOPERATION BETWEEN THE TWO NATIONS, PARTICULARLY IN MAKING
PROGRESS ON ESTABLISHMENT OF DIRECT AIR SERVICE, INCREASING
TWO-WAY TRADE (IN PARTICULAR RICE EXPORTS FROM VIETNAM), AND
PROMOTION OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COOPERATION. THE
TWO PRESIDENTS ALSO REPORTEDLY ADDRESSED THE NEED TO
FINALIZE THE DELINEATION OF THE CONTINENTAL SHELF BETWEEN
THE TWO COUNTRIES, WITH LUONG REITERATING VIETNAM'S DESIRE
TO KEEP THIS DISCUSSION IN A BILATERAL FORMAT. BOTH
PRESIDENTS ALSO VOICED THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST
TERRORISM. THE NOVEMBER 5-6 ASEAN MEETING AND THE OCTOBER
21-23 APEC SUMMIT'S DISCUSSIONS ON TERRORISM WERE CITED AS
FRAMEWORKS TO FOLLOW IN FUTURE REGIONAL AND GLOBAL EFFORTS
AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL CRIMES.

6. (SBU) PHILIPINES: LUONG'S NOVEMBER 14-16 VISIT WAS ONLY
THE SECOND VIETNAMESE PRESIDENTIAL VISIT TO THE PHILIPPINES
SINCE THE OPENING OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS IN 1976 (THEN-
PRESIDENT ANH VISITED IN 1995). BOTH COUNTRIES AGREED TO
INCREASE RICE EXPORTS AND THE TWO PRESIDENTS ALSO DISCUSSED
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE WORLDWIDE ECONOMIC SLUMP. IN ADDITION,
THE PHILIPPINES AGREED TO HELP SUPPORT VIETNAM'S EVENTUAL
BID TO ENTER THE WTO. HOWEVER, MANILA WAS REPORTEDLY
DISAPPOINTED THAT THE TWO SIDES FAILED TO REACH AN AGREEMENT
ON DEFINITIVE NUMBERS ON RICE EXPORTS OR THE PROBLEMATIC
ISSUE OF VIETNAMESE VISA OVERSTAYERS.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: PREDICTABLY, PRESIDENT LUONG'S TRAVELS
HAVE BEEN HAILED IN THE VIETNAMESE MEDIA AS GREAT SUCCESSES.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 03186 02 OF 02 041041Z
THE RATIONALE FOR THE TIMING OF THESE TRAVELS REMAINS
UNCLEAR, HOWEVER. AS MUCH AS PRESIDENT LUONG EMPHASIZED
ECONOMIC TOPICS AND STRENGTHENING BILATERAL RELATIONS IN
GENERAL, HIS INTRA-ASEAN VISITS SEEM MEMORABLE MOSTLY AS
LONG-AWAITED PHOTO-OPS.
PORTER

UNCLASSIFIED

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