Viewing cable 04HANOI2435
Title: Ambassador's August 31 Farewell Call on DPM Vu

04HANOI24352004-09-03 08:34:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Hanoi
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
SUBJECT:  Ambassador's August 31 Farewell Call on DPM Vu 
¶1. (SBU) Summary:  During his August 31 farewell call on 
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan, the Ambassador underlined 
the importance of bilateral strategic dialogue and urged 
Vietnam to strengthen law enforcement and related 
cooperation, take positive steps in the areas of human 
rights and religious freedom, make efforts to show American 
companies that Vietnam's market was open, and, in the near- 
term, respond as soon as possible to our additional WTO 
questions to facilitate October bilateral trade talks.  The 
DPM agreed with the Ambassador about the importance of 
strategic dialogue, pledged to talk with the Ministry of 
Public Security about law enforcement cooperation, offered 
to "pay attention" to special cases of American companies, 
underlined the differences between the United States and 
Vietnam on human rights and democracy, and called on USTR to 
support Vietnam's WTO bid, which would be the biggest 
bilateral issue in 2005.  The DPM also said Vietnam was 
"working hard" to respond to the latest set of U.S. 
questions regarding Vietnam's WTO accession.  End Summary. 
¶2. (SBU) The Ambassador, accompanied by Pol/C, paid a 
farewell call on Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan August 31. 
DPM Khoan opened by expressing his regret that the 
Ambassador would soon depart and thanking him for nearly 
three years of hard work in developing the bilateral 
relationship.  The DPM credited the Ambassador with helping 
to build the legal framework for cooperation in many fields, 
such as in counternarcotics, agriculture, and aviation.  The 
Ambassador had also helped to strengthen economic and trade 
relations and defense cooperation between the United States 
and Vietnam.  Of course, things were not always smooth, as 
there were often differences in the two countries' way of 
approaching issues.  That said, bilateral dialogue had 
helped to stabilize the relationship and further "great 
efforts" were needed to continue to build ties between the 
two countries.  The DPM expressed his hope that, in the 
Ambassador's "new capacity," he would continue to contribute 
to Vietnam and its relationship with the United States, and 
asked that he convey to the new ambassador the GVN's desire 
to continue cooperation. 
¶3. (SBU) The Ambassador expressed his appreciation for the 
DPM's sincere desire to work to improve the bilateral 
relationship.  The United States and Vietnam had made 
progress because it was something that both sides had 
wanted.  Before arriving in Vietnam, the Ambassador had 
consulted with senior Department and Congressional 
leadership, and they had offered encouragement to continue 
the process of normalization with Vietnam.  There had been 
much progress, but there was also normalization work 
remaining for the new ambassador and his team.  However, 
this was not surprising considering the past history of the 
two countries, the Ambassador said. 
¶4. (SBU) 2005 would be an important year because it would 
mark the tenth anniversary of normalization, the Ambassador 
continued.  Many people would use the occasion to examine 
the relationship.  We hoped to have PM Phan Van Khai visit 
the United States in 2005, and we had given the MFA our 
thoughts about what could be done to make this a positive 
visit.  The question of Vietnam's WTO accession would also 
loom large in 2005, and with it a Congressional vote on 
permanent normal trade relations.  This would also be an 
occasion to focus on the overall relationship, including, 
but not limited to, trade issues.  In short, it would be a 
challenging year, the Ambassador noted. 
¶5. (SBU) The DPM's own visit to the United States earlier in 
the year had been significant, the Ambassador said.  His 
conversations with the Secretary, APNSA Rice, and DAPNSA 
Hadley were good and at the strategic level, covering issues 
related to East Asia, China, and the U.S. role in the 
region.  Even in unofficial meetings, such as with the 
Council on Foreign Relations, DPM Khoan had had serious 
conversations, and the United States and Vietnam had not 
done enough of this in the past.  The visit to Vietnam 
earlier this year of EAP A/S Kelly had helped to continue 
this level of dialogue.  People in Washington welcomed this 
and were happy that the DPM had been frank regarding 
bilateral and other issues.  The DPM had helped to spread 
the message that Vietnam wished the United States to have a 
more active role in Southeast Asia, a message we had also 
been hearing from Singapore, the Ambassador observed. 
¶6. (SBU) One concrete area in which we had not seen much 
progress, however, was law enforcement cooperation, the 
Ambassador said.  The counternarcotics agreement was good 
for facilitating training and similar forms of cooperation, 
but it did not allow for operational cooperation in which 
police from both nations worked together.  Vietnam's police 
were still reluctant to work directly with the United 
States, and they seemed to be similarly chary of working 
with counterparts from Australia, Germany, and Japan. 
Related to this was the issue of intelligence sharing. 
Vietnam had initially expressed some interest, and both 
sides made some efforts to begin a relationship in this 
area, but then these efforts stalled.  We hoped that it 
would be possible to do good work together in the areas 
agreed, such as counterterrorism, counternarcotics, and 
trafficking in persons, the Ambassador said. 
¶7. (SBU) In the areas of trade and economics, the 
relationship was healthy, the Ambassador noted.  However, 
issues related to human rights and religious freedom 
remained unresolved.  This year and next, it would be good 
if the GVN could take dramatic and clear actions to respond 
to our concerns.  Similarly, it would be helpful for both 
Vietnam and the bilateral relationship if Vietnam could win 
friends among large U.S. companies by showing them that the 
door to Vietnam's market was open, such as for VINASAT and 
other substantial projects. 
¶8. (SBU) DPM Khoan agreed that bilateral strategic dialogue 
was very important, and he hoped that the Department and MFA 
could continue this task.  If time allowed, the DPM himself 
and the Office of the Government were also eager to be 
involved.  Regarding intelligence sharing and related 
efforts, there had been good cooperation in the area of 
counterterrorism, but the DPM acknowledged the Ambassador's 
view and pledged to talk further with the Ministry of Public 
Security about this matter.  Democracy and human rights were 
two issues about which the United States and Vietnam had 
different views, but the two sides should nonetheless 
continue their dialogue for better mutual understanding.  It 
was not a coincidence that the DPM and the GVN had 
encouraged many delegations, including National Assembly 
dignitaries, to visit the United States.  At the same time, 
Vietnam gladly welcomed American visitors, such as Senate 
staffer Frank Jannuzi.  Both sides should encourage such 
contacts and dialogue, the DPM urged. 
¶9. (SBU) The DPM agreed that both sides had made good 
progress in trade and economic relations, but that they had 
also faced some difficulties, which was normal.  Although 
there was the bilateral trade agreement framework, Vietnam 
would nonetheless pay attention to the concerns of U.S. 
companies and remain attentive to "special cases," the DPM 
¶10. (SBU) The DPM urged the Ambassador to pass on to USTR 
Zoellick Vietnam's hope for U.S. assistance in the WTO 
accession process.  The Ambassador responded by urging 
Vietnam to respond to our most recent set of questions as 
soon as possible to facilitate October bilateral talks.  The 
DPM said that Vietnam was working hard to prepare its 
responses.  Vietnam recognized that U.S. support was key, 
and was ready to go "further and longer" to win this 
support.  Vietnam did not want the United States to become 
an obstacle, particularly now that Vietnam had successfully 
made "arrangements" with other countries.  The Ambassador 
observed that other countries often made their negotiations 
easy because they knew the talks with the United States 
would be toughest.  The DPM agreed, noting that this was the 
reason Vietnam paid the most attention to the United States. 
WTO accession would be the biggest task in U.S.-Vietnam 
relations in 2005, the DPM concluded.