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Cablegate: Ambassador's Meeting with Hcmc Deputy Party Secretary

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


ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 COR-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CA-00 CIAE-00
INL-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 DS-00 EB-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00
UTED-00 VC-00 H-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 LAB-01 L-00
VCE-00 AC-00 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OMB-00 NIMA-00 EPAU-00
PA-00 PER-00 PM-00 GIWI-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00
SGAC-00 SP-00 TRSE-00 EVR-00 FMP-00 EPAE-00 IIP-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-00 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
SWCI-00 /001W
------------------DEB2C1 150425Z /38
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1324
INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI
ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS HO CHI MINH CITY 000383

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

/ / / / / / /C O R R E C T E D C O P Y/ / / / / / /
ADDED ADD'L COMMENT IN PARA 6.
/ / / / / / /C O R R E C T E D C O P Y/ / / / / /
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR SOCI KIRF PHUM VM HUMANR HIV AIDS RELFREE
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH HCMC DEPUTY PARTY SECRETARY

1. (SBU) The Ambassador, accompanied the CG, PolOff and notetaker,
met HCMC Deputy Party Secretary Le Hoang Quan at HCMC's Communist
Party Headquarters on March 30. The Ambassador, noting the
ongoing port call of the USS Gary to HCMC, said that he believed
that the U.S.-Vietnam relationship had improved significantly in
the 10 years since normalization. Quan agreed, saying that the
overall climate in bilateral relations was positive, despite the
fact that many Vietnamese believe that the U.S. must help address
lingering war legacy issues. (Comment: a reference to the GVN's
ongoing Agent Orange campaign. End Comment.) QuQn agreed with
the Ambassador that one important strength of our relationship was
that the two sides increasingly are able to talk frankly with each
other and to find ways to narrow areas of dispute. Quan said that
the HCMC Party Committee welcomed dialogue, not just with the
Ambassador and the Consul General, but also with working-level
officers of the Consulate.
2. (SBU) Quan confirmed that HCMC would hold its provincial Party
Congress in November 2005. The Party's organizational and policy
deliberations are underway. Quan anticipated that the HCMC Party
Congress would focus on strengthening and extending economic
reform and on ways to hasten infrastructure development. While
the city has averaged 11 percent GDP growth since 2001, Quan said
the city wants to do better. In the Party's view, HCMC must
improve public administration and provide a better legal framework
for both foreign and domestic investors to operate more freely.
The Party also will focus on methods to tackle pressing urban
development issues such as mass transit. Quan noted that while
technically the HCMC delegation has the same status as any other
provincial delegation attending the 10th Party Congress, in
practice, HCMC's position a major economic and social center would
give its proposals added weight.

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3. (SBU) The Ambassador stressed that the overseas Vietnamese
community can play a vital role in spurring HCMC's economic growth
and offered his assistance in building bridges between the Viet
Kieu community in the U.S. and Vietnamese authorities. The
Ambassador told Quan that, during a recent visit to San Francisco,
he met with the Vietnam- America NGO Network, an organization that
represented American Vietnamese interested in providing assistance
to Vietnam. Quan said that the GVN recognizes the value of the
Viet Kieu to the Vietnam's economy and society and it's clear
policy is to facilitate their return both to visit and do
business. He acknowledged that the GVN still must work hard to
overcome opposition from some within the Viet Kieu community.
However, while the GVN would continue to welcome the overseas
Vietnamese, he warned that it will, "not tolerate those who take
advantage of this situation to cause problems for us".

4. (SBU) The Ambassador told Quan that he applauded the efforts of
HCMC to combat HIV/AIDS. He emphasized that the United States was
committed to assist HCMC -- and Vietnam writ large -- in its fight
against the disease. The Ambassador applauded HCMC's efforts to
enlist the support of faith-based groups in this effort. He
observed that all Vietnamese, particularly those in government,
needed to be more proactive in fighting the stigma and
discrimination of HIV/AIDS victims. Quan emphasized that with its
very large drug addict population, HCMC was on the front lines of
the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Vietnam and expressed his gratitude for
the USG financial and technical support.

5. (SBU) The Ambassador observed that the U.S. and Vietnam had
made progress in resolving some differences over religious freedom
and human rights issues. New policies and legislation had
expanded opportunities for religious practice, particularly in
areas such as HCMC. However, elsewhere, problems remained more
serious and required continued GVN and Party attention. The
Ambassador stressed that all Vietnamese should be extended the
opportunity to worship as they please, including the leaders of
the United Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV). Quan emphasized
that the GVN is committed to the spiritual well being of its
citizens, and cited as an example increase in the number of
churches and other places of worship in Vietnam since 1975. With
regard to the UBCV, Quan said that the GVN recognized only the
Vietnam Buddhist Sangha as the legal representative of Buddhists
in Vietnam.

6. (SBU) Bio Note: This was Quan's first official meeting with a
USG representative since he was elevated to HCMC Deputy Party
Secretary four months ago. Although not as confident as his

SIPDIS
mentor, HCMC Party Secretary Nguyen Minh Triet, he was friendly,
engaging and well briefed. In his early fifties, Quan does not
dye his full head of gray hair, unusual behavior for a
Vietnamese official. End Bio Note.

WINNICK


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