Search

 

Cablegate: Deputy Secretary Steinberg's September 27, 2009 Conversation

VZCZCXRO6651
OO RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHPB
DE RUEHHI #0845/01 2720807
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 290807Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0216
INFO ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0016
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 0058
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000845

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OVIP PREL PGOV PHUM ECON ETRD KN CH VM
SUBJECT: Deputy Secretary Steinberg's September 27, 2009 Conversation
with Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung

1. (SBU) September 27, 2009; 10:40 am; The Office of Government;
Hanoi

2. (SBU) Participants:

U.S.
----
The Deputy Secretary
Ambassador Michael Michalak
Joseph Donovan, EAP Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
Scot Marciel, EAP Deputy Assistant Secretary
Rear Admiral Charles Leidig, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Amb. Joseph DeTrani, Directorate of National Intelligence
Derek Mitchell, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Pamela Park, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary
Clifford Reed, S/ES-O
Harry Kamian, Political Counselor, U.S. Embassy Hanoi
Michael Goldman, Deputy Political Counselor (Notetaker)

VIETNAM
-------
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung
Bui Huy Hung, Office of Government Director General
Le Hung Hoang, Deputy DG, MFA Americas Department
Tran Quang Trung, MFA Americas Department
Office of Government notetaker

3. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a cordial meeting September 27, the Deputy
Secretary and Vietnam's Standing Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh
Hung affirmed that, overall, bilateral relations continued to
improve and agreed to work together more closely as Vietnam assumes
ASEAN's Chair in 2010. Hung reiterated an invitation for President
Obama to attend a U.S.-ASEAN summit in Hanoi, arguing that it was
time for the United States to have a "greater voice" within ASEAN,
particularly on issues related to the South China Sea. The Deputy
Secretary reaffirmed our commitment to regional engagement and
urged ASEAN countries, individually and as a group, to play an
important role in nonproliferation initiatives. The two sides
expressed support for increased cooperation on economic
development, health, education, and climate change; the Deputy
Secretary noted, however, that to do this, the U.S. mission
required adequate staffing. The Deputy Secretary emphasized that
good governance, transparency, and a free press were essential to
creating favorable conditions for continued foreign investment.
Alluding to a controversial decree severely restricting independent
research institutions, the Deputy Secretary said Vietnam's ability
to attract U.S. educational partners would depend in large part on
Vietnam's perceived commitment to basic academic freedoms. END
SUMMARY.

Bilateral Relations
-------------------

4. (SBU) Apologizing for the Prime Minister's absence, Vietnam's
Standing Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung began his September
27 meeting with the Deputy Secretary by emphasizing the positive
trajectory of bilateral relations, particularly in the area of
trade, but also in education, health, the environment,
military-military engagement, and "war legacy" issues. Hung placed
particular emphasis on the threat posed by rising sea levels,
identifying climate change as a challenge second only to economic
development and poverty reduction, and encouraged the United States
to continue joint efforts in this regard. Hung also pressed the
United States to increase its contributions to international
financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank.
Vietnam's leadership was aware of the two countries' "sad past,"
Hung continued, but had decided to "give priority" to advancing
U.S.-Vietnam ties. This was particularly true as Vietnam prepared
to assume the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2010. Noting the favorable
impact of previous presidential visits, Hung reiterated an
invitation for President Obama to visit Hanoi for a revitalized
U.S.-ASEAN Summit.

5. (SBU) The Deputy Secretary praised Vietnam for the remarkable
economic progress it had made since he worked to reestablish
diplomatic relations as a member of the Clinton Administration in
the mid 1990s. He congratulated Vietnam on the imminent opening of
its consulate in Houston and said that the United States was eager
to work with Vietnam to deepen the relationship. Alluding to long
GVN delays in approving new positions, the Deputy Secretary also
stressed that to be able to increase engagment, the U.S. Embassy

HANOI 00000845 002 OF 002


and HCMC Consulate needed to be adequately staffed.

ASEAN, Nonproliferation, and South China Sea
--------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Noting the Secretary's visit to the ASEAN Secretariat and
the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, the Deputy
Secretary emphasized that the United States was committed to
deepening its engagement with Asia and the ASEAN in particular.
The Secretary was particularly interested in the Lower Mekong
Initiative as a promising way to tackle, regionally, many of the
issues that Hung had raised, including health, development, and the
environment. The Deputy Secretary urged the countries of ASEAN --
individually and as a body -- to work closely with the United
States to further the international community's interest in
nonproliferation, particularly as articulated in UNSCR 1887.

7. (SBU) Vietnam welcomed U.S. engagement in the region, DPM Hung
stressed, adding that it was time the United States developed a
"greater voice" within ASEAN. This was particularly true with
regard to the South China Sea, Hung said, noting U.S. investments
in the oil/gas sector. Hung did not specify how the United States
should become more involved or offer particulars about Vietnam's
own approach, except to say that his government supported the
Declaration of Conduct that the ASEAN countries had initiated with
China and to reiterate that Vietnam was committed to a peaceful
settlement in accord with the 1982 Law of the Sea (UCLOS). The
Deputy Secretary noted that while it did not take a position on the
competing legal/territorial claims in the South China Sea, the
United States encouraged all sides to come together and settle
their differences peacefully. He said that he appreciated
Vietnam's commitment to a peaceful, multilateral solution and
assured Hung that the United States also valued UNCLOS and had made
ratification a priority.

Human Rights, Media Freedom, and Academic Freedom
--------------------------------------------- -------

8. (SBU) The Deputy Secretary emphasized the importance of human
rights to many of the priorities enumerated by DPM Hung. Good
governance, transparency, and a free press were, for example,
essential to creating favorable conditions for continued foreign
investment. Likewise, as a former university dean, he said he
could attest to the vital importance of academic freedom. Alluding
to a controversial Prime Ministerial decree ("Article 97") severely
restricting the activities of independent research institutions,
the Deputy Secretary said that Vietnam's ability to attract U.S.
educational partners would depend in large part on the degree to
which scholars are able to conduct research freely and share their
findings. When discussing human rights, the United States was
committed to a real dialogue, he emphasized; as President Obama had
said in his trip to Africa, every country has its own history,
experiences, and developmental path. DPM Hung declined to respond
directly to the Deputy Secretary's remarks, but agreed that
dialogue was important. Vietnam was "democratic" he insisted,
because decisions are made collectively and in the interests of the
people.

9. (U) The Deputy Secretary cleared this message.

MICHALAK
Michalak

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>