wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01HANOI3019
2001-11-16 09:19:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Hanoi
Cable title:  

10TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SESSION: AN OVERVIEW

Tags:   PGOV  PINS  PREL  ETRD  VM  HUMANR  DPOL  BTA 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

160919Z Nov 01

2001HANOI03019 - CONFIDENTIAL
 
 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1073

PAGE 01        HANOI  03019  01 OF 03  160922Z 
ACTION EAP-00   

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00  COME-00  
      CTME-00  DINT-00  DODE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EXIM-01  
      E-00     FBIE-00  VC-00    FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   
      IO-00    ITC-01   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  
      NSCE-00  OES-01   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PC-01    PM-00    
      PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00  
      USIE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00  DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00   
        /012W
                  ------------------3F2563  160923Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4727
INFO ASEAN COLLECTIVE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HANOI 003019 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/16/2011
TAGS: PGOV PINS PREL ETRD VM HUMANR DPOL BTA
SUBJECT: 10TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SESSION: AN OVERVIEW

REF: A. HANOI 2953 B. HANOI 2980

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HANOI 003019

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/16/2011
TAGS: PGOV PINS PREL ETRD VM HUMANR DPOL BTA
SUBJECT: 10TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SESSION: AN OVERVIEW

REF: A. HANOI 2953 B. HANOI 2980


1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES ROBERT C.
PORTER, REASON: 1.5 (D)
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HANOI 03019 01 OF 03 160922Z


2. (C) SUMMARY. THE UPCOMING NATIONAL ASSEMBLY (NA)
SESSION WILL CONVENE ON NOVEMBER 20. ITS IMPORTANCE TO
THE US WILL BE PRIMARILY IN ITS CONSIDERATION -- AND
EXPECTED RATIFICATION -- OF THE U.S.-VIETNAM BILATERAL
TRADE AGREEMENT (BTA). ANOTHER TOP PRIORITY WILL BE TO
REVISE THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION LAW IN TIME FOR
THE 2002 ELECTIONS (FOR THE TERM RUNNING UNTIL 2007),
APPARENTLY AIMED AT INCREASING THE OVERALL NUMBER OF
DEPUTIES AND THE NUMBER OF FULL-TIME DEPUTIES. SEVERAL
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS AND REVISED LAWS ON THE
ORGANIZATION OF THE NA AND THE GOVERNMENT ARE EXPECTED
TO PROMOTE ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM GOALS GENERALLY. THE
VIETNAM HUMAN RIGHTS ACT MAY BE A CONTENTIOUS ISSUE BUT
LITTLE LIVELY DEBATE IS OTHERWISE NOW EXPECTED. THE NA
CONTINUES ITS SLOW EVOLUTION INTO A MORE
REPRESENTATIVE, MORE GENUINELY DELIBERATE LEGISLATIVE
BODY, BUT IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE OVERSHADOWED BY THE
INDISPUTABLE LEADERSHIP ROLE OF THE VIETNAMESE
COMMUNIST PARTY (VCP). END SUMMARY.


3. (U) THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY GENERALLY CONDUCTS TWO
SESSIONS EACH YEAR OVER ITS FIVE-YEAR LIFE SPAN. THE
TENTH SESSION OF THE 10TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY WILL
CONVENE ON NOVEMBER 20 AND IS EXPECTED TO RUN UNTIL
ABOUT DECEMBER 25. CHARGE, ALONG WITH OTHER CHIEFS OF
MISSION, WILL ATTEND ITS OPENING SESSION AS OBSERVERS.
ITS 450 DELEGATES WILL INITIALLY SIT THROUGH SEVERAL
DAYS OF WORK REPORTS FROM THE PRIME MINISTER, NA
CHAIRMAN, CHIEFS OF THE JUDICIAL AND
SUPERVISION/CONTROL (PROCURACY) ORGANS, AND OTHER
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HANOI 03019 01 OF 03 160922Z
SENIOR OFFICIALS BEFORE GETTING DOWN TO THEIR MAIN
TASKS, WHICH WILL ALSO INCLUDE PASSING A BUDGET AND

REVIEWING FIVE YEAR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PLANS. THE
POSSIBILITY HAS BEEN FLOATED OF AN UNUSUAL ELEVENTH
SESSION IN FEBRUARY 2002 TO COVER LEFT-OVER ITEMS, SUCH
AS A REVISED LABOR LAW, BUT THIS HAS NOT BEEN
CONFIRMED.

BTA
---


4. (C) VIETNAMESE OFFICIALS UP TO THE LEVEL OF
VCP SECRETARY-GENERAL NONG DUC MANH HAVE MADE EXPLICIT
THAT A TOP PRIORITY GOAL OF THIS SESSION IS NOT ONLY TO
CONSIDER BUT ALSO TO RATIFY THE BTA. SO CERTAIN IS THE
GVN OF THIS OUTCOME -- MOST LIKELY O/A NOVEMBER 28 (REF
A) -- THAT S-G MANH IS APPARENTLY PLANNING A TRIP TO
THE PRC BEGINNING ON NOVEMBER 29, AND DEPUTY PRIME
MINISTER NGUYEN TAN DZUNG WILL LEAD A LARGE BTA-RELATED
DELEGATION TO THE US ON DECEMBER 9. NA FOREIGN AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE VICE CHAIRMAN NGO ANH DUNG TOLD POL/C ON
NOVEMBER 14 THAT HIS COMMITTEE HAD RECOMMENDED
RATIFICATION AND THAT HE FULLY EXPECTED THE FULL NA
APPROVAL BY WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK OF THE UPCOMING
SESSION. HE NOTED THAT BTA WAS CLEARLY IN THE
INTERESTS OF BOTH COUNTRIES, AND THAT THE DECISION BY
THE US SENATE TO DE-LINK VOTES ON BTA AND VHRA (UNLIKE
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES' VOTE, HE STRESSED) MADE
NA APPROVAL MUCH EASIER.

ELECTION LAW
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HANOI 03019 01 OF 03 160922Z
--------------


5. (U) VARIOUS OFFICIALS AND PUBLIC STATEMENTS HAVE
INDICATED THAT REVISIONS TO THE NA ELECTION LAW IN
ADVANCE OF THE APRIL 2002 NA ELECTIONS (FOR THE 2002-
2007 TERM) IS ANOTHER TOP PRIORITY AND WILL PROBABLY BE
CONSIDERED EARLY IN THE SESSION. FOLLOWING THE CLOSURE
OF ITS FOURTH PLENUM ON NOVEMBER 13, THE VCP CENTRAL
COMMITTEE ANNOUNCED ITS "IDEAS REGARDING THE DIRECTION
OF THE 11TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY." THE POST-PLENUM
ANNOUNCEMENT CALLED FOR MEASURES TO ENSURE THAT THE
NEWLY ELECTED DELEGATES HAVE "SUFFICIENT STANDARDS" AND
EMERGE FROM AN "APPROPRIATE STRUCTURE RESPONDING TO THE
DEMANDS OF THE NEW SITUATION AND TASKS." (NOTE: THE
PUBLIC STATEMENT DID NOT PROVIDE MORE INSIGHT ON THESE
"NEW" ISSUES OR WHAT STRUCTURES WOULD BE MORE
"APPROPRIATE." END NOTE)


6. (C) ACCORDING TO THE NA'S NGO ANH DUNG, TWO
PROBABLE CHANGES TO THE LAW WOULD BE TO INCREASE THE
OVERALL NUMBER OF DELEGATES FROM 450 TO SOMEWHERE
BETWEEN 500 AND 550, AND TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF FULL
TIME DELEGATES. CURRENTLY, ONLY ABOUT 10 PCT OF
DELEGATES WORK FULL-TIME AT THE NA, INCLUDING THE NA
CHAIRMAN, NA VICE CHAIRMEN, AND CHAIRMEN OF THE MAJOR
COMMITTEES. HE SAID THE GOAL WOULD BE TO HAVE ABOUT 25
PCT FULL-TIME DELEGATES, INCLUDING AT LEAST ONE FULL-
TIME REPRESENTATIVE FROM EACH PROVINCE.


7. (C) SEPARATELY, NGUYEN CHI DZUNG, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HANOI 03019 02 OF 03 160923Z
OF THE NA'S LEGISLATIVE STUDIES JOURNAL, INDICATED THAT
500 DELEGATES WAS THE PREFERRED TARGET, INCLUDING 150
FULL-TIME DELEGATES. DZUNG ADDED THAT ANOTHER GOAL
WOULD BE TO ENCOURAGE MORE NON-PARTY DELEGATES (WHO
OCCUPY ONLY ABOUT 14 PCT OF ALL SEATS NOW), AND THAT
THE PARTY WOULD NO LONGER PROPOSE THAT ABOUT ONE-THIRD
OF CURRENT NA DELEGATES BE RE-ELECTED.


8. (C) DUNG CONFIRMED THAT THE EXISTING NOMINATION
PROCESS IN WHICH VARIOUS ORGANS, INCLUDING THE VCP AND
THE VIETNAM FATHERLAND FRONT, PUT FORWARD CANDIDATES
FOR EACH PROVINCE WOULD REMAIN INTACT AFTER REVISIONS
TO THE ELECTION LAW. HE STRESSED THAT THE CURRENT
SYSTEM ENSURES MORE CANDIDATES THAN SLOTS, AND THAT
ELECTIONS ARE PROVINCE-WIDE. THE CONSTITUTION MANDATES
THAT, IN PRINCIPLE, ELECTIONS ARE BASED ON "UNIVERSAL,
EQUAL, DIRECT, AND SECRET SUFFRAGE."

ORGANIZATION OF NA AND GOVERNMENT
--------------


9. (C) BILLS TO REVISE THE ORGANIZATION OF THE NA AND
OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE ALSO ON THE AGENDA OF THIS
SESSION, AND WILL PROBABLY BE PASSED. (REF B REPORTED
ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PROCESS, WHICH APPEARS
SET TO CONCLUDE WITH A SHARPLY FOCUSED DEBATE ONLY ON A
FEW PRIMARILY ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES TO THE
CONSTITUTION AT THIS SESSION.) DUNG NOTED THAT THE NA
BILL WOULD ENHANCE THE NA'S SUPERVISORY ROLE AND MAKE
MORE EXPLICIT ITS OVERSIGHT POWER REGARDING GOVERNMENT
ACTIVITIES AND FUNCTIONS. (NOTE: THE CONSTITUTION
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HANOI 03019 02 OF 03 160923Z
ALREADY GIVES THE NA "SUPREME CONTROL OVER ALL
ACTIVITIES OF THE STATE." END NOTE)


10. (C) OTHER CHANGES MIGHT ALSO INCLUDE
ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW NA COMMITTEES ON SUPERVISORY
AFFAIRS AND ON PUBLIC COMPLAINTS, DUNG ADDED. HE ALSO
NOTED THAT THE CURRENT STRUCTURE AND LIMITED MEETING
TIME OF THE NA MADE IT DIFFICULT TO PERFORM THESE
FUNCTIONS. ACCORDING TO TRAN NHUNG, INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS EDITOR FOR QUAN DOI NHAN DAN (PEOPLE'S ARMY
DAILY), AN ADDITIONAL REVISION MIGHT BE TO MANDATE
THREE RATHER THAN THE CURRENT TWO ANNUAL NA SESSIONS.


11. (C) THE REVISIONS TO THE LAW ON THE ORGANIZATION
OF THE GOVERNMENT MAY INCLUDE SOME ALTERATIONS IN THE
LINE-UP OF MINISTRIES, DUNG SAID. IT WOULD BE BETTER,
HE CLAIMED, TO REORGANIZE THE WHOLE ARRAY OF
MINISTERIAL-EQUIVALENT ENTITIES AND TO CLARIFY HOW THEY
SHOULD FIT MORE NEATLY INTO THE OVERALL GOVERNMENTAL
STRUCTURE. HE PREDICTED NO MAJOR SURPRISES, HOWEVER.
TRAN NHUNG NONETHELESS SPECULATED THAT THE NA MIGHT
GIVE ITS BLESSING TO A FEW LONG-RUMORED SENIOR
PERSONNEL CHANGES, INCLUDING MINISTER OF TRADE VU KHOAN
REPLACING DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER NGUYEN MANH CAM, AND
VICE MINISTER OF INVESTMENT AND PLANNING VO HONG PHUC
TAKING THE PLACE OF MINISTER TRAN XUAN GIA. MOST
OBSERVERS HAVE ASSUMED THAT MAJOR MINISTERIAL SWAPS
WOULD AWAIT THE NEW NA NEXT SUMMER, HOWEVER. (NOTE:
BOTH KHOAN AND GIA ARE NOW SLATED TO TRAVEL AS PART OF
DPM DZUNG'S DELEGATION TO THE US IN DECEMBER IN THEIR
CURRENT CAPACITIES. END NOTE)
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HANOI 03019 02 OF 03 160923Z

CONTENTIOUS ISSUES: VHRA
--------------


12. (C) AS NOTED IN REF B, EARLIER EXPECTATIONS OF A
LIVELY DEBATE ON COMPREHENSIVE CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE,
OR EVEN ON SPECIFIC PROPOSED AMENDMENTS THAT RECEIVED
WIDESPREAD CRITICISM, WERE EXPLICITLY DAMPENED BY
STATEMENTS FROM THE 4TH PLENUM AND BY S-G MANH THAT
ONLY "URGENT" AMENDMENTS THAT ARE "REALISTIC" AND HAVE
"WON CONSENSUS" WOULD BE ON THE TABLE FOR THIS NA
SESSION. THE ONLY SUBJECT THAT CONTINUES TO BE CITED
AS A POSSIBL LIVEWIRE FOR DISCUSSION IS THE VHRA.
SEVERAL COMENTATORS HAVE NOTED THAT DELEGATES MAY FEEL
A DUTY TO SPOUT OUT AGAINST THIS "INTERFERENCE IN
VIETNAM'S INTERNAL AFFAIRS," AND THERE REMAINS A
POSSIBILITY OF A FORMAL NA DENUNCIATION OF THIS BILL.
NO CREDIBLE OBSERVERS HAVE PREDICTED EVEN THAT A SUDDEN
U.S. SENATE VOTE IN FAVOR OF VHRA IN THE NEXT SEVERAL
WEEKS WOULD DERAIL BTA, HOWEVER.

COMMENT
--------------


13. (C) AS VIETNAM CONTINUES ITS SLOW AND USUALLY
STEADY EVOLUTION INTO A SOCIETY INCREASINGLY RULED BY
LAWS AND MORE TRANSPARENT, ACCOUNTABLE INSTITUTIONS,
THE ENHANCED PROMINENCE OF THE NA OVER THE PAST DECADE
IN PARTICULAR HAS BEEN A WELCOME DEVELOPMENT. NONG DUC
MANH DURING HIS OWN TENURE AS CHAIRMAN ACTIVELY
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HANOI 03019 03 OF 03 160923Z
FOSTERED THIS TREND, INCLUDING SUCH INNOVATIONS AS
TELEVISED DEBATES AND QUESTION-AND-ANSWER SYSTEMS FOR
STATE LEADERS. NOW IN HIS NEW SEAT AS PARTY CHIEF, HE
SEEMS TO BE PULLING BACK FROM THIS ADVOCACY, AND THE
STATURE OF THE NA MAY SUFFER, AT LEAST TEMPORARILY. HE
FLATLY ANNOUNCED IN OCTOBER THAT THE NA "WOULD" APPROVE
THE BTA AND THE ORGANIZATIONAL BILLS CITED ABOVE, FOR
EXAMPLE. THE 4TH PLENUM'S SOMEWHAT UNUSUAL PRE-NA
SESSION AND ITS EXPLICIT "GUIDANCE" ON CONSTITUTIONAL
AMENDMENTS ARE FURTHER INDICATIONS OF THE FIRM
INTENTION OF THE VCP TO DOMINATE THE ACTIVITIES OF THE
NA. MANH'S OWN EXPECTED TRAVELS (EVEN THOUGH AS A NA
DELEGATE HIMSELF FOR HANOI HE MIGHT WELL BE EXPECTED TO
PARTICIPATE IN THE ENTIRE SESSION) AND THOSE OF DPM
DZUNG'S DELEGATION TO THE U.S. WILL ALMOST INEVITABLY
DOMINATE LOCAL NEWS COVERAGE DURING THE FINAL WEEKS OF
THE NA IN A WAY THAT WILL DIMINISH PUBLIC ATTENTION TO
ITS PROCEEDINGS.


14. (C) ALL OF THIS MAY BE A SIMPLE REFLECTION THAT
VIETNAM AND ITS MEDIA ARE INCREASINGLY LESS SINGLE-
ISSUE ORIENTED. IT MAY ALSO BE A SIGN, HOWEVER, OF A
CONTINUING COMPETITIO FOR INFLUENCE AND POWER BETWEEN
MANH AND NA CHARMAN NGUYEN VAN AN. AN HAD BEEN ONE OF
THE MAJO LOSERS IN THE S-G SWEEPSTAKES THIS PAST
SPRING ND WAS REPORTEDLY THE CHOICE PUSHED BY FORMER
PRESIDENT AND THEN-SENIOR ADVISER LE DUC ANH, NOW SAID
TO BE IN CRITICAL CONDITION FOLLOWING A RECENT STROKE.
ANOTHER POSSIBLE -- AND NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE --
EXPLANATION IS THAT THERE IS GROWING CONCERN WITHIN
PARTY CIRCLES THAT AN OVERLY ASSERTIVE NA MAY NOT BEST
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HANOI 03019 03 OF 03 160923Z
SERVE THE INTERESTS OF STRONG VCP LEADERSHIP AT A TIME
OF NATIONAL CONCERN OVER STABILITY AND "SOLIDARITY."
PORTER

CONFIDENTIAL