Search

 

Cablegate: Ranking Politburo Member Talks About Human Rights, Bilateral Relations

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

120022Z Dec 01

2001HOCHI01381 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ5314

PAGE 01 HO CHI 01381 01 OF 02 120135Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DOTE-00 DS-00 EB-00
FAAE-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00
LAB-01 VCE-00 NSAE-00 OIC-02 IRM-00 SS-00 TEST-00
DSCC-00 DRL-02 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /005W
------------------4A2108 120136Z /38
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5783
INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI
USMISSION GENEVA
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI
JICPAC HONOLULU HI
SECDEF WASHDC
DIA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 001381

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD/MSPEER
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR DRL/IRF
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR INR/EAP/SEA AND INR/IL/B
CINCPAC FOR FPA
SECDEF FOR ISA/EA/ABLAGG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KIRF PINR PREL VM RELFREE HUMANR ETMIN
SUBJECT: RANKING POLITBURO MEMBER TALKS ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS, BILATERAL RELATIONS


1. SUMMARY: AS THE FOURTH-RANKING MEMBER IN VIETNAM'S
POLITBURO, HO CHI MINH CITY'S COMMUNIST PARTY SECRETARY
NGUYEN MINH TRIET IS A MAJOR POLITICAL FORCE. IN A
MEETING WITH CONSUL GENERAL, TRIET EMPHATICALLY
DEFENDED VIETNAM'S RECORD ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS
FREEDOM. BUT HE INVITED CG TO FURTHER DISCUSSIONS ON
THESE AND OTHER ISSUES "WHERE GAPS REMAIN", IN AN
EFFORT TO IMPROVE MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE TWO
GOVERNMENTS. END SUMMARY.

TRIET: "WE SHOULD NOT AVOID RAISING SENSITIVE ISSUES"
--------------------------------------------- --------

2. CONSUL GENERAL PAID AN INITIAL COURTESY CALL ON MR.
NGUYEN MINH TRIET ON DECEMBER 10, AT HCMC COMMUNIST
PARTY HEADQUARTERS. TRIET OPENED THE MEETING, NOTING
THAT HE BELIEVED THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BILATERAL
TRADE AGREEMENT WILL OPEN A "NEW ERA" OF IMPROVED
BILATERAL RELATIONS BETWEEN VIETNAM AND THE U.S.
IMPLEMENTATION WILL PREPARE VIETNAM FOR ACCESSION TO
THE WTO - "THE NEXT STEP" -- HE SAID, AND HE LOOKED
FORWARD TO WORKING WITH CONGEN DURING THAT PROCESS.

3. LIKENING THE U.S. AND VIETNAM TO FAMILY MEMBERS,
TRIET SAID IT IS NORMAL FOR TWO COUNTRIES TO HAVE
DIFFERENCES ON CERTAIN ISSUES. HE ADDED, HOWEVER, THAT
GOVERNMENTS SHOULD NOT AVOID CONFRONTING ISSUES WHERE
THERE ARE "GAPS IN UNDERSTANDING," ESPECIALLY WHEN SUCH
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HO CHI 01381 01 OF 02 120135Z
DISCUSSIONS COULD MOVE THE TWO SIDES CLOSER TOGETHER.
HE SAID NEITHER SIDE SHOULD HESITATE TO RAISE SENSITIVE
MATTERS.

4. CG THEN ASKED TRIET WHAT HE THOUGHT WERE THE MOST
CONTENTIOUS ISSUES IN THE U.S.-VIETNAM BILATERAL
RELATIONSHIP. TRIET DID NOT TAKE THE BAIT. HE
RESPONDED ONLY THAT WE SHOULD FIND SOLUTIONS TO
PROBLEMS THROUGH MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING; WE SHOULD NOT
MAKE MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLEHILLS; AND WE SHOULD NOT
ALLOW DIFFERENCES TO TURN US INTO OPPONENTS.

CG: "THEN LET'S TALK ABOUT THICH QUANG DO...
--------------------------------------------

5. CG SAID SHE WOULD TAKE UP TRIET'S INVITATION TO
RAISE A COUPLE OF SENSITIVE ISSUES. SHE NOTED THAT
THICH QUANG DO, THE SECOND-RANKING MONK OF THE BANNED
UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH OF VIETNAM, HAS BEEN UNDER
HOUSE ARREST AND HAS NOT BEEN ALLOWED TO RECEIVE
VISITORS SINCE JUNE. REMINDING TRIET THAT THE GERMAN
EMBASSY HAD BEEN REFUSED A VISIT, SHE THEN ASKED TRIET
IF HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO VISIT DO.

6. TRIET SAID HE WAS PROUD OF VIETNAM'S RECORD ON HUMAN
RIGHTS AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION. VIETNAM STRUGGLED FOR
CENTURIES FOR INDEPENDENCE, AND NOW THAT INDEPENDENCE
HAS BEEN ACHIEVED, HE SAID, PEOPLE KNOW TRUE FREEDOM.
ONE HALF MILLION CATHOLICS, MANY MORE BUDDHISTS, AND
MEMBERS OF SEVERAL OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS IN HCMC HAVE
THE FREEDOM TO WORSHIP, DECLARED TRIET. BUT, HE ADDED,
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HO CHI 01381 01 OF 02 120135Z
THERE ARE A VERY FEW PERSONS WHO ABUSE THESE FREEDOMS.
IN DOING SO THEY BREAK THE LAW. THESE ARE CIVIL CASES,
HE SAID, NOT CASES OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, AND ARE DEALT
WITH ACCORDING TO VIETNAMESE LAW.

7. CG REPLIED THAT NO MATTER HOW VIETNAM MIGHT
CHARACTERIZE THICH QUANG DO, HE IS AN INTERNATIONAL
FIGURE AND MANY PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTRIES ARE CONCERNED
ABOUT HIS HEALTH AND WELL BEING.

8. TRIET DECLARED THAT DO WAS IN GOOD HEALTH, AND THAT
THE GVN IS TAKING GOOD CARE OF HIM, SENDING A PHYSICIAN
REGULARLY TO MONITOR HIS HEALTH. HE WAS FULLY AWARE
THAT SHOULD ANYTHING GO WRONG WITH DO'S HEALTH, "THERE
ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO WOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT
SITUATION" TO MAKE VIETNAM LOOK BAD.

9. CG SAID SHE WOULD CERTAINLY TAKE TRIET AT HIS WORD
THAT DO'S HEALTH WAS BEING LOOKED AFTER AND WOULD
REPORT THIS TO THE EMBASSY AND WASHINGTON. THIS DID
NOT MEAN, HOWEVER, THAT SHE WOULD NOT SEEK TO VISIT DO
IN THE FUTURE. TRIET LET THAT PASS.

...AND ACCESS TO THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS"
---------------------------------------

10. CG TOLD TRIET THAT SHE HAD PLANNED TO VISIT THE
CENTRAL HIGHLANDS THIS WEEK, BUT DAK LAK AND KON TUM
PROVINCES HAD, LATE LAST FRIDAY, NOTIFIED THE CONGEN
THAT THE PROVINCIAL PEOPLE'S COMMITTEES WERE TOO BUSY
TO RECEIVE HER. SHE NOTED HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS FOR
DIPLOMATS TO BE ABLE TO TRAVEL, MEET PEOPLE, AND REPORT
ACCURATELY AND FAIRLY ON WHAT THEY SEE AND HEAR. SHE
ASKED TRIET'S ADVICE ON HOW TO BEST PROCEED.

11. TRIET ACKNOWLEDGED THAT, EARLIER IN THE YEAR,
TRAVEL TO THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS WAS RESTRICTED BECAUSE
OF SECURITY PROBLEMS. HE STATED, HOWEVER, THAT IT WAS
CURRENT STATE POLICY "NOT TO PROHIBIT ANYONE" FROM
VISITING THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS. HE PROMISED TO VOICE
HIS SUPPORT OF CONGEN TRAVEL TO THE AREA.

12. TRIET ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE LEVEL OF ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS LAGGED BEHIND MOST
OF VIETNAM'S OTHER PROVINCES. HE ALSO ACKNOWLEDGED
THAT WITHIN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS, ETHNIC MINORITY
GROUPS LAGGED BEHIND ETHNIC VIETNAMESE KINH, BOTH
ECONOMICALLY AND EDUCATIONALLY. HE EMPHASIZED THAT THE
GVN HAD DEVISED POLICIES FOR IMPROVING THE LIVING
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HO CHI 01381 02 OF 02 120135Z
STANDARDS FOR THE CENTRAL HIGHLAND MINORITY GROUPS AND
THAT, COMPARED TO 25 YEARS AGO, THEIR SITUATION HAD
IMPROVED GREATLY.

13. THE UNREST IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS OCCURRED,
ACCORDING TO TRIET, BECAUSE OUTSIDERS ENCOURAGED SOME
DISSATISFIED PERSONS TO AGITATE FOR AN AUTONOMOUS
STATE. TRIET SAID VIETNAM WOULD BE FIRM AGAINST ANY
NOTION OF AUTONOMY, BUT AT THE SAME TIME WOULD CONTINUE
TO WORK TOWARD IMPROVING THE LIVES OF ITS ETHNIC
MINORITIES. VIETNAM IS A UNIFIED COUNTRY, HE
EMPHASIZED, AND WILL REMAIN SO.

BIONOTE
-------

14. TRIET WAS BORN IN BINH DUONG (FORMERLY SONG BE)
PROVINCE, JUST NORTH OF SAIGON, AND GREW UP IN SAIGON.
DURING THE WAR YEARS, HE WORKED FOR THE CENTRAL
COMMUNIST PARTY MASS MOBILIZATION COMMITTEE, SOUTHERN
BUREAU. DURING 1976-1987, HE WORKED FOR THE CENTRAL HO
CHI MINH YOUTH UNION. IN 1991, HE BECAME SECRETARY OF
THE SONG BE PROVINCE COMMUNIST PARTY COMMITTEE, AND
FROM JANUARY TO DECEMBER 1997, HE WAS VICE-CHAIRMAN OF
THE HCMC COMMUNIST PARTY COMMITTEE (WHILE CONCURRENTLY
VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE HCMC PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE). FROM
HCMC, HE WENT TO HANOI TO HEAD THE POWERFUL MASS
MOBILIZATION COMMITTEE OF THE CENTRAL COMMUNIST PARTY.
IN JANUARY 2000, HE RETURNED TO HCMC AS THE CITY'S
COMMUNIST PARTY CHIEF. IN APRIL 2001, HE MOVED UP TO
NUMBER FOUR IN THE POLITBURO, OUTRANKED ONLY BY THE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HO CHI 01381 02 OF 02 120135Z
PRESIDENT, PRIME MINISTER AND COMMUNIST PARTY GENERAL
SECRETARY. SOME OBSERVERS BELIEVE TRIET WILL BECOME

SIPDIS
VIETNAM'S NEXT PRIME MINISTER. HE IS 59-YEARS OLD.

COMMENT
-------

15. TRIET PROVED TRUE TO HIS REPUTATION OF BEING
ENGAGING AND PERSONABLE, IF SOMEWHAT DOCTRINAIRE. HE
DID NOT BAT AN EYELASH WHEN THE CG SAID WE WOULD HOLD
HIM TO HIS WORD ABOUT THE HEALTH OF THICH QUANG DO.
CONGEN WILL STILL SEEK TO VISIT DO. CG IS MOVING AHEAD
WITH HER TRIP TO THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS. RESPONDING TO
TRIET'S NUMEROUS OFFERS TO DISCUSS SENSITIVE BILATERAL
ISSUES "OR ANY OTHER PROBLEMS", CG SAID PERHAPS IN A
MORE INFORMAL SETTING, OVER LUNCH OR DINNER. TRIET
SORT OF SAID "UUHMM". CONGEN WILL SEEK AN APPROPRIATE
TIME TO MEET WITH TRIET TO CONTINUE THE DIALOGUE WITH
HIM. YAMAUCHI

UNCLASSIFIED

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Myanmar: UN Condemns Escalating Violence In Deadliest Day Of Protests So Far

In response to the killing of at least 18 protesters demonstrating against Myanmar’s military coup, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Sunday together with the UN chief, strongly condemned the “escalating violence” and called for an immediate end to the use of force... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>