Viewing cable 06HANOI627
Title: VIETNAM AND DPRK WORK TO IMPROVE TIES

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06HANOI6272006-03-17 05:56:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Hanoi
VZCZCXRO2064
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #0627/01 0760556
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 170556Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1149
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 0720
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000627 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/K 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/17/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV VM KN KS
SUBJECT: VIETNAM AND DPRK WORK TO IMPROVE TIES 
 
HANOI 00000627  001.4 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Michael W. Marine per 1.4 (b), (d) 
 
Summary and Comment 
------------------- 
 
¶1. (C) DPRK MFA Asia Director Ma Chol-su visited Vietnam 
March 2-5 as part of the two countries' continuing efforts to 
patch up relations following the mass defection incident of 
July 2004.  During meetings in Hanoi with Government and 
Party representatives, the two sides agreed to pursue 
high-level visits, including by the DPRK Foreign Minister 
later in 2005.  The DPRK representative requested food and 
other assistance, criticized the United States in the context 
of the Six Party Talks and "positively evaluated" Vietnam's 
reform efforts.  For their part, the Vietnamese interlocutors 
urged the DPRK and other parties to resolve peacefully the 
nuclear issue and promised to consider the DPRK's assistance 
request.  Reportedly, neither side raised the matter of North 
Korean asylum seekers in Vietnam.  Although Vietnam and North 
Korea appear to have more or less patched up their relations, 
Vietnam's relationship with the ROK still dwarfs its ties 
with its "traditional friend."  End Summary and Comment. 
 
¶2. (C) On March 16, ROK Embassy Political First Secretary Lee 
Kang-kuk provided Pol/C with the briefing he received from 
the Vietnamese MFA on the March 2-5 visit to Hanoi of DPRK 
MFA Asia Director General Ma Chol-su.  Ma's primary 
interlocutor was MFA Asia 1 Director Nguyen Ba Cu, but he 
also met with Vice Foreign Minister Nguyen Phu Binh, 
Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) External Relations 
Commission Vice Chair Ta Minh Chau, MFA Economics Director 
General Doan Xung Hung, Diplomatic Service Bureau Chairman 
Nguyen Van Xuong and the Ministry of Trade's Asia Director 
General.  Following his stop in Hanoi, Ma and his colleague 
(NFI) traveled to Laos, Indonesia and India. 
 
Bilateral Relations 
------------------- 
 
¶3. (C) The primary focus of Ma's visit was to "advance and 
normalize bilateral relations" and follow up VFM Binh's visit 
to Pyongyang in September 2005, the Vietnamese reported to 
the Korean Embassy.  The Vietnamese invited DPRK Foreign 
Minister Paek Nam-sun to visit Vietnam this year, and DG Ma 
promised that the DPRK would provide its reply on the 
occasion of the ARF in Kuala Lumpur in July.  During Ma's 
meeting at the CPV, Vice Chair Chau said that External 
Relations Commission Chairman Nguyen Van Son would like to 
visit Pyongyang in late April or early May, which DG Ma 
welcomed. 
 
¶4. (C) The two sides also agreed to hold in Pyongyang 
sometime this year the sixth round of the Vietnam-DPRK 
Economic Cooperation Committee.  Each side's delegation would 
be led by a vice minister of trade.  Furthermore, the Vietnam 
Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) plans to send a 
delegation to North Korea "in the near future."  In terms of 
assistance, the DPRK representative requested that Vietnam 
provide North Korea with 20,000 tons of rice and 20 tons of 
rubber (as follow-on to the 1,000 tons of rice and five tons 
of rubber that Vietnam provided last year).  The Vietnamese 
reportedly promised to think about it.  The two sides also 
agreed to advance cultural and educational exchanges and to 
make repairs to each other's respective embassies. 
 
Nuclear Issue, North-South Relations, Asylum Seekers 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
¶5. (C) On the subject of the Six Party Talks, DG Ma said that 
they are "false talks" and that U.S. "financial sanctions" 
against North Korea violate the understanding reached in 
September 2005.  The United States uses the issues of 
democracy and human rights to "pressure North Korea" and must 
change its policy.  For their part, the GVN and CPV 
representatives expressed their hope that all parties would 
be able to resolve peacefully the issues before them.  On 
North-South relations, DG Ma said that, through dialogue and 
economic cooperation, things are going well and that the DPRK 
intends to continue to pursue this course.  Neither side 
raised the issue of North Korean asylum seekers in Vietnam. 
 
"Internal Conditions," Third-Country Relations 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
¶6. (C) The North Korean representative "positively evaluated" 
Vietnam's Doi Moi ("renovation") policy and its efforts to 
join the WTO and successfully host APEC.  North Korea's own 
internal situation has improved, DG Ma reported, and the DPRK 
produced 5.45 million tons of food last year.  Nonetheless, 
there is still a shortfall, and, although the DPRK will not 
 
HANOI 00000627  002.4 OF 002 
 
 
seek assistance from international aid agencies, it would 
accept food and other aid from bilateral partners. 
 
¶7. (C) Finally, DG Ma said that the DPRK's relations with 
China and Russia are proceeding smoothly on the basis of 
friendship and cooperation.  Japan, on the other hand, 
continues its "single-minded insistence" on addressing the 
abduction issue, and there has been no progress in the two 
sides' normalization talks. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶8. (C) Vietnam-DPRK relations appear to be more or less back 
on track following the cold spell generated by the July 2004 
transfer (or, as the DPRK put it, "mass kidnapping") of some 
450 asylum seekers from Ho Chi Minh City to Seoul. 
Nonetheless, Vietnam's economic, political and cultural ties 
with the ROK dwarf its relations with "traditional friend" 
North Korea, and for the foreseeable future, the bulk of 
Hanoi's outreach efforts will likely remain focused on Seoul 
rather than Pyongyang.  End Comment. 
MARINE