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

 


UN News: Rare Coral Reef Discovered Near Tahiti Is ‘Like A Work Of Art’, Says Diver
One of the largest coral reefs in the world has been discovered by a UN-supported scientific mission off the coast of Tahiti. Announcing the stunning find on Thursday, UNESCO said that divers had explored large rose-shaped corals spanning some three kilometres, at depths of between 30 and 65 metres... More>>


Tonga Eruption: At Least 3 Dead, Amid Severe Destruction
At least three people have died in Tonga following the massive volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami wave that hit over the weekend. Homes and other buildings across the archipelago have suffered major damage... More>>

Save The Children: Tonga Volcano Ash And Smoke Cause Concern For Air And Water Safety
Families in Tonga are at risk of exposure to unsafe air and water due to ash and smoke from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano that erupted on Saturday, reports Save the Children...
More>>



Ethiopia: UN Chief Lauds ‘Demonstrable Effort To Make Peace’

The UN Secretary-General on Wednesday said he was “delighted” to learn that “a demonstrable effort to make peace” in Ethiopia is finally underway, according to information relayed to him by the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa... More>>


Tigray: Agencies Suspend Aid As ‘Scores’ Are Killed Due To Airstrikes
Recent airstrikes on camps for internally displaced persons and refugees in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, have reportedly killed scores of civilians, including children, and left many more injured... More>>


UN News: For 25th Year In A Row, Greenland Ice Sheet Shrinks

2021 marked the 25th year in a row in which the key Greenland ice sheet lost more mass during the melting season, than it gained during the winter, according to a new UN-endorsed report issued on Friday... More>>