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00HANOI1316 2000-06-15 08:19:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Hanoi
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR REVIEWS RELATIONS WITH FM NIEN

Tags:   PREL ETRD VM US 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

150819Z Jun 00

2000HANOI01316 - CONFIDENTIAL
 
 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3398

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                  ------------------631227  150821Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0138
INFO ASEAN COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY BEIJING 
AMEMBASSY TOKYO 
SECDEF WASHDC
USDOC WASHDC
DEPTTREAS WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
DIA WASHDC
JICPAC HONOLULU HI
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//J5/FPA//
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HANOI 001316 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV, EB/TPP/BTA/ODC AND INR/B
STATE PASS TO USTR/DAMOND
SECDEF ALSO FOR ISA/EA/LSTERN
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PAGE 02 HANOI 01316 01 OF 03 150821Z
USDOC FOR 4431/MAC/IEP/OKSA/HPPHO
TREASURY FOR OASIA SURBANA
CINCPAC FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/15/00
TAGS: PREL ETRD VM US
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR REVIEWS RELATIONS WITH FM NIEN




1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES DENNIS HARTER.
REASON: 1.5 (B) AND (D)



2. (C) BEGIN SUMMARY: AMB. PETERSON CALLED ON FM
NGUYEN DY NIEN JUNE 9 PRIOR TO THE FORMER'S DEPARTURE
FOR WASHINGTON. NIEN HOPED THAT JACKSON-VANIK WAIVERS
WOULD NO LONGER BE NECESSARY IN THE FUTURE AND THAT THE
USG WOULD TAKE A MORE "FLEXIBLE" STANCE ON THE BTA.
AMB. PETERSON SAID THE POLITICAL CLIMATE IN WASHINGTON
MADE IT HIGHLY UNLIKELY THE ANNUAL JACKSON-VANIK REVIEW
WOULD BE ELIMINATED ANY TIME SOON. HE TOLD NIEN THAT
IT WOULD BE BETTER FOR HANOI TO SHELVE THE BTA UNTIL
VIETNAM WAS READY RATHER THAN TO CONTINUE TO INSIST
UNREALISTICALLY ON RENEGOTIATION OR CONCESSIONS. NIEN
EXPRESSED HANOI'S ANNOYANCE WITH RECENT CONGRESSIONAL
RESOLUTIONS ATTACKING VIETNAM AND REPEATED HIS
GOVERNMENT'S REQUEST FOR U.S. AID FOR AGENT ORANGE
VICTIMS. AMB. PETERSON EXPLAINED THE DIVISION OF
POWERS IN THE USG, STRESSED THE NEED TO FORGE AHEAD ON
ALL ISSUES AND REITERATED OUR OFFER TO WORK JOINTLY
WITH VIETNAMESE SCIENTISTS ON SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON
AGENT ORANGE. THE AMBASSADOR URGED NIEN TO REVERSE HIS
MINISTRY'S RECENT ACTIONS TO TRY TO RESTRICT EMBASSY
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PAGE 03 HANOI 01316 01 OF 03 150821Z
ACTIVITIES. TYPICALLY, NIEN WAS MAINLY IN A LISTENING
MODE. REGULAR EXCHANGES ARE NONETHELESS USEFUL IN
GETTING OUR MESSAGE TO THE SENIOR LEVELS OF THE GVN.
END SUMMARY.



3. (C) AMBASSADOR PETERSON CALLED ON FM NGUYEN DY NIEN
JUNE 9 TO REVIEW THE STATE OF BILATERAL RELATIONS PRIOR
TO THE FORMER'S TRIP TO WASHINGTON TO DEAL WITH THE
JACKSON-VANIK WAIVER VOTE AND OTHER ISSUES. THE
AMBASSADOR SAID THAT HE WANTED TO SEE NIEN IN ORDER TO
LET HIM KNOW THAT HE WOULD BE FOCUSING PRIMARILY ON TWO
EVENTS IN WASHINGTON: (A) THE ASEAN AMBASSADORS' TOUR;
AND (B) TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS IN CONNECTION WITH
JACKSON-VANIK. THE ASEAN AMBASSADORS' TOUR PROVIDES A
BROAD AUDIENCE OF IMPORTANT BUSINESS PEOPLE INTERESTED
IN KNOWING ABOUT VIETNAM'S SITUATION. IN THIS REGARD,
THEY WOULD ALSO FOLLOW CLOSELY DELIBERATIONS ON THE
HILL REGARDING JACKSON-VANIK. AMB. PETERSON SOLICITED
FM NIEN'S VIEWS AND ANY IDEAS THAT WOULD HELP BUILD THE
RELATIONSHIP FURTHER.



4. (C) NIEN COMMENTED THAT "WE SHOULD MEET EVERY TIME
YOU GO TO WASHINGTON AS WELL AS WHEN YOU RETURN." HE
THANKED PRES. CLINTON AND THE ADMINISTRATION FOR AGAIN
RECOMMENDING A JACKSON-VANIK WAIVER FOR VIETNAM, BUT
HOPED THAT IN THE FUTURE THIS WOULD NO LONGER BE AN
ANNUAL NECESSITY.



5. (C) AMB. PETERSON SAID MANY IN THE U.S. WOULD ALSO
LIKE TO DO AWAY WITH THE NEED FOR ANNUAL WAIVERS, BUT
THAT THE POLITICAL CLIMATE THERE MADE THIS UNLIKELY.
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PAGE 04 HANOI 01316 01 OF 03 150821Z
HE EXPRESSED HIS VIEW THAT THE VOTES FOR WAIVER WILL
CONTINUE INTO THE FUTURE. ON THE OTHER HAND,
CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON THE BILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENT
(BTA) COULD GO QUICKLY ONCE A VOTE WAS ABLE TO BE
SCHEDULED SINCE IT WOULD BE DONE ON A FAST-TRACK, UP-
OR-DOWN VOTE BASIS. THIS WOULD WORK TO VIETNAM'S
BENEFIT.



6. (C) NIEN EXPRESSED THE GVN'S GREAT "ANNOYANCE" AT
RECENT CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTIONS DIRECTED AT VIETNAM.
AMB. PETERSON REPEATED THAT WHICH HE HAD RECENTLY TOLD
TO DEPUTY NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CHAIRMAN QUANG: THERE IS A
CONSTITUTIONALLY DEFINED DIVISION OF POWERS IN OUR
GOVERNMENT. SUCH ACTIONS AS THE NON-BINDING
RESOLUTIONS RESULT FROM CONSTITUENT GROUP PRESSURES ON
CONGRESS AND DO NOT TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE U.S'
BROADER RELATIONS WITH COUNTRIES. HE REITERATED THE
USG'S COMMITMENT TO BUILDING THE BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP
AND ITS RECOGNITION OF VIETNAM'S GOVERNMENT, DESPITE
WHAT MIGHT APPEAR IN NON-BINDING CONGRESSIONAL
RESOLUTIONS CALLING THAT FACT INTO QUESTION.



7. (C) NIEN SHIFTED TO GENERAL SECRETARY LE KHA
PHIEU'S RECENT OFFICIAL TRIP TO FRANCE, ITALY AND THE
EU. DESCRIBING IT AS "VERY POSITIVE," HE SAID THE
EUROPEANS "WERE MORE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT US THAN WE ARE."
HE HOPED THE USG WOULD FOLLOW THE SAME POSITIVE COURSE
REGARDING VIETNAM, THAT THIS WOULD BE REFLECTED IN THE
U.S.' APPROACH TOWARD THE BTA.



8. (C) ON THE BTA, AMB. PETERSON SAID HE WANTED TO
STRESS THAT, IF MINISTER OF TRADE VU KHOAN GOES TO
WASHINGTON TO MEET WITH USTR BARSCHEFSKY IN RESPONSE TO
HER RECENT INVITATION, THAT HE GO WITH INSTRUCTIONS TO
FINALIZE THE AGREEMENT. IF NOT, THE PSYCHOLOGICAL
DAMAGE TO THE BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP COULD BE QUITE
SEVERE. THE GVN SHOULD THINK VERY CAREFULLY ABOUT
THIS, HE ADDED. IT WOULD BE BETTER TO TELL US THAT THE
GVN HAD DECIDED TO PUT OFF ALL FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF
THE BTA UNTIL VIETNAM WAS READY RATHER THAN TO SEND
KHOAN WITH DEMANDS THE USG WOULD FIND UNACCEPTABLE.
THE AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT WE ARE DEALING WITH SO MANY
ISSUES THAT ARE REACHING A HEAD FOR DECISIONMAKING THAT
IT IS FRAYING OUR COLLECTIVE NERVES.



9. (C) THE RELATIONSHIP IS STILL FRAGILE, THE
AMBASSADOR ADDED. BOTH SIDES NEED TO AVOID THE MINOR
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PAGE 03 HANOI 01316 02 OF 03 150821Z
IRRITANTS SO AS TO BE UNDISTRACTED IN PURSUING THE
BIGGER ISSUES. FOR EXAMPLE, MFA PROTOCOL'S RECENT
EFFORTS TO RESTRICT THE U.S. EMBASSY'S NORMAL
ACTIVITIES IMPLIES A BREACH OF TRUST. SUCH ACTIONS
"STRETCH THE FABRIC" OF OUR RELATIONSHIP. CORDIALITY
IS CENTRAL IF THE MFA AND OUR DIPLOMATS ARE TO BE ABLE
TO WORK CONSTRUCTIVELY TOGETHER. NIEN GAVE THE
PREDICTABLE MFA REPLY OF "WE DON'T DISCRIMINATE IN
THIS. IT'S NORMAL." AMB. PETERSON REPLIED THAT WE DO
NOT MAKE SUCH DEMANDS LIMITING DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITIES ON
SRV AMB. LE VAN BANG AND HIS DIPLOMATS IN THE U.S.
DEMANDS SUCH AS INSISTING THE EMBASSY NOTIFY THE MFA
EACH TIME IT HELD A PUBLIC EVENT OR SEEKING CLEARANCE
OF EVERY MAILING WE MADE TO VIETNAMESE SHOWS LACK OF
TRUST AND "CAUSES ME PERSONAL PAIN." SUCH IRRITANTS
ARE EASILY AVOIDABLE AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED. NIEN SAID
HE UNDERSTOOD AND WOULD "CHECK" INTO THIS ISSUE. HE
AGREED BOTH SIDES NEEDED TO MAINTAIN TRUST. (COMMENT:
NIEN HAS GIVEN THE SAME "WE'LL CHECK INTO THIS" REPLY
WHENEVER THE AMBASSADOR HAS RAISED SIMILAR CONCERNS IN
THE PAST. THE OFFICIAL HARASSMENT HAS CONTINUED OR
INCREASED SINCE. END COMMENT.)



10. (C) AMB. PETERSON SAID ONE AREA WHERE THE USG IS
DEMONSTRATING CONCRETELY ITS COMMITMENT TO MOVE FORWARD
WITH THE RELATIONSHIP IS IN AID. USAID WILL SOON SET
UP AN OFFICE HERE AND WILL BEGIN TO PROVIDE DIRECT
ASSISTANCE. UNDER COMMODITY EXCHANGE PROGRAMS, THE
U.S. HAS JUST TRANSFERRED AN ENTIRE HOSPITAL (WITHOUT
STAFF) TO CENTRAL VIETNAM AND WE ARE PROVIDING $3
MILLION FOR ADDITIONAL HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS. NIEN
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PAGE 04 HANOI 01316 02 OF 03 150821Z
WELCOMED SUCH AID, BUT ADDED VIETNAM ALSO NEEDED AID TO
DEAL WITH AGENT ORANGE.



11. (C) THE AMBASSADOR SAID THE USG COULD HELP VIETNAM
WITH HEALTH PROBLEMS, REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE. HE
STRESSED, HOWEVER, ON AGENT ORANGE, THE SCIENCE HAS YET
TO BE DONE. HE SAID HE PLANNED TO DISCUSS WITH THE
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES THE IDEA OF INVITING SRV
SCIENTISTS TO A MEETING IN THE U.S. TO DISCUSS WORKING
ON A FRAMEWORK FOR JOINT COOPERATION ON RESEARCHING
AGENT ORANGE. HE HAS ALREADY ASKED MOSTE MINISTER NHA
TO MAKE SCIENTISTS AVAILABLE.



12. (C) NIEN HAD NO FURTHER COMMENTS ON AGENT ORANGE.
HE RETURNED TO THE BTA, URGING GREATER FLEXIBILITY FROM
THE USG. THE AMBASSADOR REPLIED THAT HE HAD JUST
ATTENDED A UNDP PRESENTATION OUTLINING VIETNAM'S
GREATEST NEEDS FOR DEVELOPMENT FOR THE NEXT DECADE.
THE NUMBER ONE RECOMMENDATION WAS THAT VIETNAM SIGN THE
BTA IMMEDIATELY AS IS. THE BTA LAYS OUT ALL THE
PRECONDITIONS FOR CREATING THE MOST JOBS, GROWTH OF
WEALTH, A MORE OPEN INVESTMENT ENVIRONMENT, ETC. THIS
STUDY IS AIMED AT THE CPV'S UPCOMING NINTH PARTY
CONGRESS. THE PLANNING NEEDS TO BE DONE NOW IF THE
ENORMOUS POTENTIAL OF THE VIETNAMESE PEOPLE IS TO BE
REALIZED, HE SAID.



13. (C) COMMENT: TYPICALLY FOR SRV OFFICIALS, NIEN
HAD NOTHING NEW OR TERRIBLY INSIGHTFUL TO SAY ON U.S.-
SRV RELATIONS, PARALLELING VICE FM BIN'S CONVERSATIONS
WITH U/S PICKERING ON THE SAME SUBJECTS. THE PRINCIPAL
VALUE IN THE MEETING WAS FOR THE AMBASSADOR TO CONVEY
TO THE SENIOR LEVEL USG THINKING ON A RANGE OF ISSUES.
NIEN AND HIS COLLEAGUES WILL LISTEN EQUALLY AS CLOSELY
WHEN THE AMBASSADOR RETURNS TO FILL THEM IN ON THE
LATEST THINKING ON VIETNAM IN WASHINGTON.
HARTER.

CONFIDENTIAL