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Cablegate: Gvn Ponders Deliverables for a Pm Visit

VZCZCXRO4314
RR RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #1414/01 2201439
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081439Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6032
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3495
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001414

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, INR/B AND EB/TPP/BTA/ANA
STATE PASS USTR FOR DBISBEE
USDOC FOR 4430/MAC/ASIA/OPB/VLC/HPPHO

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN EAID ETRD PREL VM
SUBJECT: GVN PONDERS DELIVERABLES FOR A PM VISIT

Ref: Hanoi 1060

1. (SBU) Summary. In his farewell meeting with the Ambassador, the
Chairman of the Office of the Government (OOG) said that the GVN is
mulling a number of "deliverables" for Prime Minister Zung's
September visit to the United States. Among them, he cited
long-pending deals on the purchase of Boeing aircraft, power
generation, ports and mining, and even resolution to the protracted
negotiations over a Peace Corps program and the new embassy
compound. Progress on the commercial deals, according to the
Ambassador, would help address concerns about Vietnam's growing
trade imbalance. At the meeting, Ambassador Marine also urged
Vietnam to tackle political reforms without delay, warning that the
country's development would be truncated without greater freedoms.
End Summary.

DELIVERABLES UNDER CONSIDERATION
--------------------------------

2. (SBU) OOG Chairman Doan Manh Giao told Ambassador Marine during
their July 30 meeting that his office had been tasked with putting
together a package of deliverables for the visit of Prime Minister
Nguyen Tan Zung to the United States in late September for the
opening of the United Nations General Assembly. Giao told
Ambassador Marine that the deliverables under consideration included
a deal on Vietnam Airlines' negotiations with Boeing aircraft for
the purchase of ten 787s, and giving final green light to Gannon
Power Vietnam's power generation project for the industrial zones of
Dong Nai Province in the south and SSA Marine's Cai Lan port project
in northernmost Quang Ninh Province, both of which are pending
investment licenses. The Chairman also mentioned supporting Alcoa
and state-owned Vinacomin's joint venture to develop a bauxite mine
and alumina refinery in the southern province of Dak Nong.

3. (SBU) Giao said that he would consider also recommending as
deliverables the establishment of Peace Corps project in Vietnam and
the go-ahead for the construction of a new embassy compound -- both
of which the Ambassador raised as part of his agenda for the meeting
(see paragraphs 9 and 10). The OOG oversees day-to-day running of
the Cabinet and advises the Prime Minister, in a manner akin to our
Chief of Staff.

AMBASSADOR URGES VIETNAM TO TACKLE POLITICAL REFORM...
--------------------------------------------- ---------

4. (SBU) The Ambassador said that all of the ingredients of a
successful bilateral relationship were in place, save one: political
reform. "A successful and developed society cannot thrive without
genuine and open plurality," he said. The Ambassador noted that,
despite progress in some fronts, "there are areas that are worse
than they were three years ago," when he began his term.

5. (SBU) Ambassador Marine called on the GVN to allow people to
speak out freely and the media to grow into its natural role as a
watchdog against excesses. He praised Prime Minister for pledging
to reform governance and the rule of law, and Deputy Prime
Minister/Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem for embracing cooperation
with the United States in this area in his recent response to
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (reftel), but said that it was high
time for concrete action.

6. (SBU) The Ambassador mentioned anti-corruption efforts as one
governance challenge that the two countries could tackle
immediately. He said that the U.S. stood ready "right now" to
assist Vietnam in this regard, but that we need to develop a
concrete plan for implementing new cooperative programs.
Ultimately, he said, "the government has to allow people and the
media to hold" office-holders accountable.

7. (SBU) Chairman Giao acknowledged that Vietnam needed to "do more
on democracy, including rule of law, freedom of speech, religious
freedom and freedom to express political views." He urged the
United States to continue pressing these issues through dialogue,
not confrontation, and added that the Vietnamese leadership
understood that "the bilateral relation is not just about the
economy and trade."

... AND WARNS ABOUT TRADE IMBALANCE
-----------------------------------

8. (SBU) The Ambassador raised the possibility that Vietnam's
significant trade surplus with the United States, which grows larger
every year, could start drawing flak. Although confident that as
Vietnam opens its markets to U.S. products the pressure would
subside, the Ambassador urged Chairman Giao to look into short-term
ways to reduce the imbalance. The Chairman said that he agreed that

HANOI 00001414 002 OF 002


the commercial deliverables were the short-term solution.

(RE)MAKING THE CASE FOR NEW EMBASSY COMPOUND
--------------------------------------------

9. (SBU) The Ambassador drew smiles from his host when he quipped
that he would be "ashamed to have you visit my office because the
embassy building is so ugly and so inappropriate, given the state of
our relationship." Giao said that the new embassy compound (NEC)
should be a GVN priority, terming the current situation
"regrettable."

PLEA FOR THE PEACE CORPS
------------------------

10. (SBU) The Ambassador said that the impasse over the
establishment of a Peace Corps program, despite high-level GVN
support, was as frustrating as inaction on the NEC. "Every minister
I meet tells me that the GVN wants to make it happen, and yet the
negotiators can't close the deal," he lamented. Chairman Giao said
that he would follow up and mentioned it as a potential PM
deliverable.

MEETING AND CONTEXT
-------------------

11. (SBU) The meeting was one of Ambassador Marine's farewell calls
on Vietnamese leaders. Chairman Giao, who is also leaving his post
at the end of the month, warmly greeted and thanked Ambassador
Marine for his contributions to Vietnam's successes, citing in
particular the Bilateral Trade Agreement, WTO accession and the
visits of President Triet and Deputy Prime Minister Khiem to the
United States, and of President Bush to Vietnam. The Ambassador
thanked the Chairman and his staff for his valuable assistance
during his tenure.

MARINE

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