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05HANOI315 2005-02-07 11:23:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Hanoi
Cable title:  

NSC Senior Director Michael Green Discusses China,

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000315 





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: NSC Senior Director Michael Green Discusses China,
Country of Particular Concern Designation, APEC, Prime
Minister's Visit with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan

1. (SBU) Summary: NSC Senior Director for Asia Dr. Michael

J. Green and the Ambassador discussed bilateral relations
and regional strategic dynamics with Deputy Prime Minister
(DPM) Vu Khoan on February 4. The DPM stressed regional
dialogue, particularly through the ASEAN framework, while
recognizing China's rising role in the region. He urged the
removal of Vietnam's designation as a Country of Particular
Concern (CPC) for religious freedom to pave the way for the
Prime Minister's visit this summer and requested further
strong gestures from the United States regarding Vietnam's
accession to the WTO. End Summary.

2. (SBU) NSC Senior Director for Asia Dr. Michael J. Green
and the Ambassador met with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan
on February 4 to discuss the state of bilateral relations,
regional interactions and the Prime Minister's possible
visit to the United States in June 2005. Vu Khoan welcomed
Dr. Green, noting that this visit is especially important
because of various upcoming events, including the tenth
anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations,
Prime Minister (PM) Phan Van Khai's planned visit to the
United States and the start of preparations for Hanoi to
host the APEC summit in 2006.

3. (SBU) Dr. Green agreed that we are at an important and
optimistic point in our relationship, which could be
enhanced by high-level exchanges of visits, including that
of Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman to Vietnam
and members of Vietnam's National Assembly to the United
States. Bilateral visits like these demonstrate how far U.S.-
Vietnam relations have come in terms of common interests, he

4. (SBU) Turning to regional issues, Dr. Green said China's
"rising role" in Asia is important because it affects
China's relations with the United States as well as Vietnam,
and in turn the U.S.-Vietnam relationship. This "rise"
creates conditions to reinforce other countries' bilateral
relations, he stressed; "diplomacy in Asia is not a zero-sum
game." While the issue of religious freedom is the most
sensitive one for both our countries, Dr. Green said, the
recent release of Father Ly from prison has set the stage
for the two sides to explore building a possible work plan
to address the United States' concerns regarding religious
freedom in Vietnam. Emphasizing that we could learn more
from each other through dialogue, Dr. Green solicited the
DPM's views about the region and the U.S. role in it.

5. (SBU) DPM Khoan replied that recent speeches by
President Bush and Dr. Rice indicate a new multilateral
diplomacy approach by the United States. Within this
framework, there could be four particular levels of regional
cooperation: the sub-regional level with three to four
countries working together, the regional level through
ASEAN, new forms of regional cooperation through an East
Asian Summit, and the inter-regional level through APEC,
with all levels being intertwined. Although each
organization has different interests and agendas, their
shared goals are development, stability and prosperity. In
particular, DPM Khoan stressed, ASEAN needs to play a key
role through initiatives within its framework, including
"ensuring ASEAN plays a leading role in any East Asian
cooperative organization that is still in its preliminary

6. (SBU) DPM Khoan also opined that China has replaced
Japan as a regional economic leader, and the Chinese are
interested in continuing to expand China's active role in
the world as well as paying special attention to their
neighbors. The rise of China is good for many countries,
including the United States, he said, because it contributes
to the spread of prosperity within the region. He noted that
trade exchange between Vietnam and China is increasing
rapidly and relations remain excellent despite "some
difficulties in the East (South China) Sea."

7. (SBU) The DPM stressed that Vietnam's foreign policy is
keyed to multilateralism and diversification of its
relationships, remaining active at all four levels of
regional cooperation and seeking friendships with all
countries while avoiding military alliances. Vietnam
recognizes the United States has relationships with many
countries in the region and it needs to play an active role
in promoting peace and stability. In fact, DPM Khoan
continued, Vietnam wants the United States to play a
constructive role in regional cooperation based on mutual
understanding and respect, resulting in lasting cooperation.
Although the bilateral relationship is "shadowed by burdens
of the past," it must move forward. One way Vietnam is
doing this is through cooperation with American MIA/POW
recovery operations, an effort that is difficult to explain
to the Vietnamese public but basically tolerated. "Not only
do we need to settle all past issues," the DPM recommended,
"but we need to try to avoid creating new stumbling blocks
in the road ahead, like lawsuits on catfish and shrimp, and
interference in domestic issues."

8. (SBU) Regarding the PM's visit, the GVN wants to receive
an official invitation from the USG soon in order to make
preparations for the late June to early July timeframe. For
visit deliverables, GVN hopes to have an agreement on the
framework of the relationship and various MOU's on other
areas of cooperation as well. A statement regarding
Vietnam's WTO accession would be the next appropriate step
to build upon the 2001 Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA).
Discussion on the bilateral relationship as well as regional
issues in the overall framework would be welcome as well.
"Paving a clean way" for the PM's visit, however, would mean
removing the "offensive" CPC designation of Vietnam, the DPM
said. There are six official religions in Vietnam and the
new ordinance on religion (with specific directives on each
religion) is evidence of Vietnam's efforts to create
favorable and equitable conditions, something Vietnam would
do without external pressure. At the same time, the GVN
must prevent people from abusing their freedoms and breaking
laws, he explained.

9. (SBU) Dr. Green said Vietnam has "a clear sense of
regional strategy," adding that "we should have more
strategic dialogue at all levels." Although the United
States is not opposed to an East Asia Summit, Dr. Green
recommended that participants consider carefully what the
new dynamic would be in such an organization, stressing that
APEC should remain the preeminent forum because it includes
the United States. This is something the United States and
Vietnam could continue to discuss in quiet dialogue, Dr.
Green suggested. China's rising role in the region is not
necessarily a bad factor, but it is imperative that China
joins Asia, not vice versa, in order to maintain an open
architecture, with APEC and ASEAN steadfast in their
respective, dynamic roles.

10. (SBU) On WTO, Dr. Green noted that it may not be
possible to complete an agreement by June but indicated that
the United States could send a strong signal in support of
Vietnam's efforts. Addressing the religious freedom issue,
he said opening more churches and allowing freedom to
worship would be the next proper steps for Vietnam.
Although the CPC designation cannot be lifted immediately,
it is both possible and desirable to establish a work plan
to make progress toward that goal. Dr. Green noted that as
a leader of great faith, President Bush welcomes faith-based
organizations' contributions for the public good and he
stressed the positive role that these organizations play in
Vietnamese society, contributing to a stronger nation.
Although the deadline for action in response to CPC
designation is approaching, the United States is willing to
offer an extension of that deadline to provide enough time
to establish a work plan that demonstrates to skeptics that
religious freedom in Vietnam is being implemented in good
faith, he added.

11. (U) Dr. Green cleared this cable.