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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06HANOI1338 2006-05-31 10:55:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Hanoi
Cable title:  

VIETNAMESE DISSIDENTS ANNOUNCE NEW PARTY; GVN

Tags:   HUMANR PREL PGOV PHUM VM 
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1. (SBU) Summary: The DPV made the public announcement
today of the reestablishment of the long-defunct DPV, and
there was no overt reaction by the GVN. The MFA did,
however, call in representatives of the Embassies who met
with the DPV leadership on May 30 to protest foreign
involvement in "illegal and destabilizing" activities. In a
meeting at the MFA, GVN officials asked the DCM not to
support "negative elements" who are trying to take advantage
of the current situation in U.S.-Vietnam relations. They
said they, too, are working to avert an "overreaction" to
the DPV within the GVN. End Summary.



2. (SBU) Per reftel, Chinh and Khue announced on June 1 via
recorded message posted on Vietnamese websites in California
that the Democracy Party of Vietnam (DPV) is re-established.
Vietnamese transcripts of the announcement are available on
the "Voice of Democracy" website for the Vietnamese
Democratic Movement (www.ptdcvn.org).



3. (SBU) Also on June 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(MFA) called in (separately) the Australian, European
Commission (EC), and U.S. diplomatic missions to complain
about each mission's participation in the May 30 reftel
meeting with members of the DPV. Deputy DG for the Americas
Nguyen Hoang Nam summoned the DCM to express Vietnam's
appreciation for the recent signing of the bilateral U.S.-
Vietnam WTO agreement and to warn the United States that
"some dissidents and political opportunists have taken
action to destabilize Vietnam's security and society and
prevent the development of further momentum in Vietnam's
relations with other countries, including the United
States." Nam said the GVN "has evidence" that some
Embassies, including the United States, met with the
"opportunists" and encouraged their "illegal behavior." The
U.S. Embassy should not be involved in this activity, Nam
said, and should not support these dissidents.



4. (SBU) The DCM responded that U.S. Embassy personnel
engage with individuals from all parts of Vietnamese
society, and it is important to hear a range of opinions.
The U.S. Embassy does not encourage law-breaking, but we
have also said many times that Vietnam should support the
expansion of legally protected political space. Discretion
is important in these matters, the DCM said, but the U.S.
Embassy has an obligation to listen to opinions, including
and especially those that others do not agree with.



5. (SBU) Nam said the GVN appreciates the USG position, and
recognizes that the Ambassador and other officials have
repeatedly expressed the U.S. Embassy's respect for
Vietnam's sovereignty and territorial integrity. However,
the GVN cannot accept actions that destabilize the society.
"If something happens," Nam said elliptically, "it may tie
the MFA's hands regarding our recommendations to avoid
actions that could damage relations." The DCM noted that
the best way for a group of individuals agitating for
political change to express their message, build credibility
and gain attention is for them to be arrested. "We want to
avoid overreactions by our government as well," Nam said.



6. (SBU) In a later meeting on Iran, Deputy FM Le Van Bang
raised the same issue with the DCM. "We have a lot going
on," VFM Bang said, "such as the WTO signing, PNTR, the
visit of the Secretary of Defense, a possible visit by the
Secretary of State, and the President's visit." It is

SIPDIS
inevitable, he continued, that some people will try to take
advantage of the pace of relations and the interest of both
governments in "avoiding agitation" to carry out "some
actions." VFM Bang said he is "under a great deal of
pressure about that." DDG Nam told Poloff after that
meeting that VFM Bang has been criticized by security
hardliners in the GVN who feel that they are constrained
from "responding appropriately" to the "opportunists"
because of the GVN's desire - personified by VFM Bang - to
maintain smooth relations with pro-human rights western
countries.



7. (SBU) EC and Australian poloffs report the MFA presented
similar complaints to their missions. The EC ambassador
replied that the GVN was not the EU's only interlocutor in
Vietnam and that EC poloffs have a duty to keep track of

HANOI 00001338 002.2 OF 002


domestic developments in the country, and will continue to
meet with DPV representatives. The EU doesn't support the
DPV, however, if the GVN infringes upon the rights of DPV
members the EC will take up cases on an individual basis and
from a human rights perspective. He concluded by noting
that intrusive surveillance of the activities of Vietnamese
citizens (and EU and other diplomats) is not civilized
behavior. EC poloffs report that their MFA interlocutors
concluded the meeting almost apologetically by saying that
meetings like those they had called with the EC ambassador
"were part of our job".

Comment


--------------------------





8. (SBU) The MFA was discomfited by the message it had to
deliver on this, which was clearly imposed from outside.
Their biggest problem with the May 30 meeting seems to have
been its public nature, and other public contacts we have
had with Vietnamese dissidents (such as the invitation of
several of them to the HCMC Fourth of July celebration last
year) have generated similar scoldings. The MFA appears to
understand that we cannot cease and desist from meeting with
dissidents and democracy activists, and instead want us to
understand that doing so too publicly might end up forcing
the hands of those who favor a harsher response to the DPV
and its members. We may be able to thread the needle of
keeping contact with the DPV without letting them martyr
themselves by reducing the profile of our meetings with
them. It may also be out of our hands; the DPV's public
relations strategy envisions "bombarding" Vietnamese and
international news outlets with announcements and
declarations, which alone may be enough to trigger a crack
down.

MARINE