US embassy cable - 00HANOI686

VIETNAM IDEOLOGICALLY COMMITTED TO STATE-LED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, WARY OF DANGERS OF GLOBALIZATION

Identifier: 00HANOI686
Wikileaks: View 00HANOI686 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Hanoi
Created: 2000-04-05 07:48:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL ECON ETRD PINR PHUM VM DPOL
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


2000HANOI00686 - CONFIDENTIAL
 
 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0683

PAGE 01        HANOI  00686  01 OF 07  050821Z 
ACTION EAP-00   

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00  CTME-00  
      DINT-00  DOEE-00  DOTE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EXIM-01  
      E-00     FAAE-00  FBIE-00  VC-01    FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00  
      INR-00   IO-00    ITC-01   LAB-01   L-00     MOFM-04  MOF-03   
      AC-01    NSAE-00  OES-01   OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    
      PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    SSO-00   STR-00   
      USIE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     FDIC-01  
      NFAT-00  SAS-00     /023W
                  ------------------47E1B3  050822Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9479
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
ASEAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 
AMCONSUL HONG KONG PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 
DEPTTREAS WASHDC PRIORITY
USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//J5/FPA// PRIORITY
DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 07 HANOI 000686 
 
SIPDIS 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HANOI  00686  01 OF 07  050821Z 
STATE ALSO FOR EAP DAS BOYCE AND EAP/BCLTV 
STATE ALSO FOR P, E, EB, DRL, OES, INR/EAP, INR/IL/B 
NSC FOR RAVIC HUSO 
STATE PASS USTR AMB FISHER/DAUSTR DAMOND 
WHITE HOUSE FOR DEP/ASST TO POTUS LBRAINARD 
SECDEF FOR ISA/EAP/LSTERN 
USDOC FOR 4431/MAC/AP/OKSA/HPPHO 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 3/21/2020 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, ECON, ETRD, PINR, PHUM, VM, DPOL 
SUBJECT: VIETNAM IDEOLOGICALLY COMMITTED TO STATE-LED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, WARY OF DANGERS OF GLOBALIZATION 
 
REF: A) HANOI 637   B) HANOI 232 
 
(U) CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL COUNSELOR JAMES BRUNO; 
REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D). 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (C) SENIOR LEADERS RECENTLY HAVE EMPHASIZED FAMILIAR 
IDEOLOGICAL THEMES ABOUT THE COMMUNIST PARTY'S PREEMINENT 
ROLE IN ALL MAJOR POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DECISION-MAKING. 
A FOCUS OF THIS CENTER-LED GOVERNING STYLE IS THE NEED FOR A 
STRONG STATE SECTOR TO GUIDE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.  IN THE 
VIEW OF VIETNAM'S IDEOLOGUES, MARKET REFORMS MUST BE 
INCREMENTAL AND SUPPLEMENTAL TO THE STATE-LED BACKBONE OF 
THE ECONOMY.  RECENT ARTICLES HAVE STRESSED THAT SOCIALIST 
VIETNAM'S HIGHEST PRIORITIES MUST ALWAYS BE TO REDUCE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HANOI  00686  01 OF 07  050821Z 
POVERTY AND HUNGER.  WHILE THESE ARE LAUDABLE GOALS, 
VIETNAM'S COMMAND-STYLE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SERVICE SYSTEM 
IS SEEN, IN LARGE PART, AS THE MECHANISM TO ACHIEVE THIS, 
RATHER THAN ALLOWING GREATER ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL FREEDOM 
FOLLOWING A MARKET-ORIENTED PARADIGM.  IN THE WORDS OF THE 
PRIME MINISTER, VIETNAM IS A POOR COUNTRY THAT "CANNOT 
COMPETE" WITH RICH COUNTRIES.  VIETNAM CONSTANTLY ARGUES IT 
NEEDS MORE AID, DESPITE HAVING AID COMMITMENTS AND PLEDGES 
TOTALING 28 PERCENT OF GDP. 
 
2. (C) THOUGH THE PROCESS OF GLOBALIZATION IS ACKNOWLEDGED 
TO BE INEVITABLE, SENIOR SRV OFFICIALS SEE IT AS LARGELY 
NEGATIVE.  THIS IS HIGHLY IRONIC, BECAUSE CERTAIN SECTIONS 
OF THE COUNTRY, ESPECIALLY HO CHI MINH CITY, ARE PROFOUNDLY 
BENEFITING FROM GROWING TRADE WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD. 
IN FACT, MOST VIETNAMESE SEE THE LEADERSHIP'S MARXIST 
SLOGANS AS IRRELEVANT TO THEIR DAILY LIVES.  BUT MANY 
LEADERS IN HANOI ARE PROFOUNDLY FEARFUL OF HOW THE WEST, AND 
PARTICULARLY THE U.S., MAY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF VIETNAM'S 
"WEAKNESSES."  THEY SEE UNBRIDLED ECONOMIC REFORM AND 
LIBERALIZATION AS DESTABILIZING AND REFER TO SCIENCE AND 
TECHNOLOGY AS TOOLS THAT INTERNATIONAL "IMPERIALISM" USES TO 
SUBJUGATE POOR COUNTRIES.  THEY ALSO FEAR WESTERN EFFORTS TO 
IMPOSE "MILITARY SOLUTIONS" IN OTHER COUNTRIES, SUCH AS IN 
KOSOVO OR EAST TIMOR.  THOUGH THE COUNTRY'S CONSERVATIVE 
IDEOLOGUES CHAMPION THESE VIEWS MOST VIGOROUSLY, IN RECENT 
MONTHS EVEN MORE TECHNOCRATIC MEMBERS SUCH AS THE PRIME 
MINISTER AND FOREIGN MINISTER HAVE ECHOED THEM.  WE SENSE 
VIETNAMESE LEADERS ARE EMBOLDENED BY THE STRONG CRITICISM OF 
FREE TRADE AT THE SEATTLE WTO AND THE BANGKOK UNCTAD 
MEETINGS.  THIS HEIGHTENED IDEOLOGICAL RHETORIC SUGGESTS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HANOI  00686  01 OF 07  050821Z 
MAJOR ECONOMIC REFORMS ARE UNLIKELY BEFORE NEXT SPRING'S 
PARTY CONGRESS.  END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------------------- 
THE ROLE OF IDEOLOGY IN VIETNAM 
------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) THIS IS THE SECOND OF A TWO-PART SERIES ANALYZING THE 
IDEOLOGICAL THEMES HIGHLIGHTED IN RECENT SPEECHES AND 
PRONOUNCEMENTS BY COMMUNIST PARTY (CPV) LEADERS.  THESE 
CABLES ANALYZE THEMES RAISED BY PARTY GENERAL SECRETARY LE 
KHA PHIEU IN HIS SPEECH ON THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 
FOUNDING OF THE CPV; BY POLITBURO MEMBERS PHAM THE DUYET AND 
NGUYEN PHU TRONG AND PARTY IDEOLOGISTS NHI LE AND NGUYEN 
KHANH IN ARTICLES IN THE OFFICIAL COMMUNIST PARTY 
THEORETICAL JOURNAL; AND BY PRIME MINISTER PHAN VAN KHAI AND 
FOREIGN MINISTER NGUYEN DY NIEN IN MEETINGS WITH FOREIGN 
LEADERS.  THIS CABLE FOCUSES ON THE CPV'S CONTINUING 
ADHERENCE TO CENTRALLY DIRECTED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TO 
THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL DANGERS VIETNAM'S 
LEADERS SEE IN GLOBALIZATION.  REF A FOCUSED ON THE 
COMMUNIST PARTY'S ROLE IN GUIDING THE VIETNAMESE STATE. 
 
4. (C) WHILE THESE IDEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES HAVE BEEN GETTING 
INCREASED ATTENTION IN RECENT SPEECHES AND STATEMENTS, IT IS 
IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT AMONG THE POPULATION AT LARGE, 
MARXIST-LENINIST IDEOLOGY HAS FEW FOLLOWERS IN VIETNAM.  THE 
AVERAGE PERSON ON THE STREET FINDS MUCH OF THIS TO BE 
"BACKGROUND NOISE" THAT IS IRRELEVANT TO HIS OR HER DAILY 
LIFE.  IN HO CHI MINH CITY, IN PARTICULAR, MANY PEOPLE ARE 
QUICK TO VOICE THEIR DISDAIN FOR THE EMPTY SHIBBOLETHS THAT 
ARE SPOUTED BY PARTY IDEOLOGUES.  THE PROCESSES OF "DE 
FACTO" GLOBALIZATION AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE ARE MOST 
ADVANCED IN THE SOUTH, AND PARTY AND GOVERNMENT LEADERS FROM 
THAT REGION ARE, AS A GROUP, MUCH MORE OPEN TO ENGAGEMENT 
WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD AND ATTUNED TO THE BENEFITS OF 
GLOBALIZATION.  HOWEVER, IT WOULD BE A MISTAKE TO DISMISS 
THE IDEOLOGICAL MANTRAS OF THE PARTY AND GOVERNMENT AS ONLY 
EMPTY SLOGANS.  MARXIST-LENINIST IDEOLOGY REMAINS IMPORTANT 
IN VIETNAM BECAUSE MANY OF THE SENIOR LEADERS EITHER 
CONTINUE TO BE TRUE BELIEVERS -- OR THEY HIDE BEHIND THE 
RHETORIC AS AN EXCUSE FOR NOT PRESSING FORWARD BRISKLY ON 
REFORM.  IDEOLOGY IN VIETNAM IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR WHAT IT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HANOI  00686  02 OF 07  050822Z 
SAYS ABOUT THE NARROW CUPOLA OF LEADERS WHO HOLD THE REINS 
OF ULTIMATE POLITICAL POWER. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
IDEOLOGISTS STRESS STATE-LED DEVELOPMENT AS NECESSARY 
FOR SOCIAL STABILITY; MARKET REFORMS GRADUAL AND MEASURED 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
5. (C) FROM THEIR OWN PERSPECTIVE, THE COMMUNIST PARTY 
LEADERS OF VIETNAM FACE A PROFOUND ECONOMIC DILEMMA: HOW TO 
OPEN UP THE ECONOMY AND BENEFIT FROM INCREASED TRADE AND 
INVESTMENT WITHOUT RISKING LOSS OF SOCIAL STABILITY AND THE 
POTENTIAL LOSS OF THEIR MONOPOLY ON POWER.  WE HAVE HEARD 
FROM MANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS THAT THE DEBATE IN VIETNAM IS 
NOT ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT TO MOVE FORWARD -- BUT AT WHAT PACE 
TO DO SO.  MANY OF VIETNAM'S SENIOR LEADERS HAVE AN INHERENT 
CAUTION ABOUT PROCEEDING "TOO RAPIDLY" WITH ECONOMIC 
LIBERALIZATION AND MARKET REFORMS.  IN THE ABSENCE OF A 
CONSENSUS TO MOVE FORWARD BOLDLY ON REFORM, THE PARTY 
PRESERVES ITS PATERNALISTIC, STATE-LED ECONOMIC MODEL THAT 
GRADUALLY INTRODUCES GREATER "MARKET CHARACTERISTICS" IN A 
CONTROLLED, MEASURED WAY. 
 
6. (C) IN HIS SPEECH COMMEMORATING THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF 
THE CPV IN FEBRUARY, GENERAL SECRETARY PHIEU EXTOLLED 
SOCIALISM AS THE MEANS FOR DEVELOPMENT IN VIETNAM.  HE SAID 
VIETNAM MUST BUILD "A HIGHLY DEVELOPED ECONOMY WITH MODERN 
PRODUCTION FORCES AND WITH STATE OWNERSHIP OF ALL KEY 
PRODUCTION AREAS."  VIETNAM WILL DEVELOP ALL "ECONOMIC 
SECTORS, INCLUDING STATE ENTERPRISES, COOPERATIVES, FAMILY 
BUSINESSES, FARMS, PRIVATE COMPANIES, AND JOINT VENTURES 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HANOI  00686  02 OF 07  050822Z 
WITH FOREIGN PARTNERS."  HE CONTINUED THAT THE STATE ECONOMY 
AND THE COOPERATIVE-BASED ECONOMY WILL FORM "A FOUNDATION 
FOR OUR NATIONAL ECONOMY."  FURTHER PARROTING THE 1992 
CONSTITUTION, HE ADDED THAT ALL ECONOMIC SECTORS WILL BE 
EQUAL.  PHIEU SAID, "IT IS TOTALLY CORRECT WHEN OUR PARTY 
EMPHASIZES AND CONSOLIDATES THE LEADING ROLE OF THE STATE 
ECONOMY."  HE SAID THE STATE SECTOR SHOULD "SERVE AS A 
CENTER TO ACCELERATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF OTHER ECONOMIC 
SECTORS, MAINTAIN STABILITY DURING COMPLICATED 
CIRCUMSTANCES, AND IMPLEMENT THE MARKET-ORIENTED ECONOMY 
UNDER STATE MANAGEMENT WITH A SOCIALIST ORIENTATION." 
 
7. (C) PHIEU FURTHER NOTES THAT ELIMINATING HUNGER AND 
REDUCING POVERTY ARE KEY ECONOMIC PRIORITIES.  BY LAUDING 
THE SUCCESSES OF VIETNAM'S ANTI-POVERTY EFFORTS THUS FAR, 
PHIEU SEEMS TO BE ARGUING FOR CONTINUING A FUNDAMENTALLY 
CENTRALLY PLANNED MODEL OF POVERTY REDUCTION, RATHER THAN 
SEEKING TO PROMOTE PROSPERITY THROUGH GREATER ECONOMIC AND 
POLITICAL FREEDOM.  (COMMENT: ADMITTEDLY THIS MAY IMPACT 
DIFFERENT REGIONS AND SECTORS DIFFERENTLY.  END COMMENT.) 
PHIEU GOES ON TO URGE THAT VIETNAM EXPAND ITS "ECONOMIC 
COOPERATION" WITH OTHER COUNTRIES AND PRODUCE NEW PRODUCTS 
OF HIGH QUALITY SO THAT VIETNAM CAN COMPETE WITH OTHER 
COUNTRIES.  HOWEVER, THE PRIMACY OF THE STATE SECTOR IS 
CLEAR IN HIS ECONOMIC WORLDVIEW. 
 
 
8. (C) SIMILARLY, IN A MARCH ARTICLE OUTLINING VIETNAM'S 
HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY IN THE PARTY NEWSPAPER "THE PEOPLE" 
("NHAN DAN"), PARTY FUNCTIONARY PHAM VAN KHANH STRESSED THE 
IMPORTANCE OF STATE EFFORTS TO REDUCE POVERTY.  "THE MOST 
FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE IN VIETNAM IS TO MAKE IT 
POSSIBLE FOR THE PEOPLE TO HAVE ADEQUATE FOOD, CLOTHES AND 
ACCESS TO EDUCATION."  KHANH WROTE THAT "PAYING ATTENTION TO 
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TO RAISE THE ENTIRE PEOPLE'S LIVING 
STANDARDS, IMPLEMENTING POLICIES ON HUNGER ELIMINATION, AND 
POVERTY REDUCTION ARE REALLY THE PRIMARY CONCERN OF THE 
PARTY AND STATE OF VIETNAM."  KHANH SAYS THE SRV IS 
PERFECTING ITS SOCIAL SERVICES SYSTEM AND DEVELOPING A 
SOCIAL WELFARE NETWORK TO GUARANTEE THESE RIGHTS. 
 
9. (C) COMMENT: VIETNAM HAS RECEIVED GENEROUS SUPPORT AND 
STRONG ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THE IFI'S AND BILATERAL DONORS FOR 
THE SUCCESSES OF ITS LARGELY STATE-LED APPROACH TO POVERTY 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HANOI  00686  03 OF 07  050822Z 
REDUCTION.  DURING THE VISIT OF WORLD BANK PRESIDENT 
WOLFENSOHN IN MARCH -- AND THROUGHOUT VIETNAM'S ONGOING 
ENGAGEMENT WITH LOCAL WORLD BANK, ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK, 
AND UN AGENCY OFFICIALS -- VIETNAM GETS CONSISTENTLY HIGH 
MARKS FOR ITS SUCCESSES IN REDUCING THE POVERTY RATE.  GIVEN 
THIS ONGOING CHORUS OF PRAISE FROM MANY INTERNATIONAL 
DONORS, WHICH IS SUPPORTED TANGIBLY WITH PLEDGES OF MORE 
THAN $2 BILLION ANNUALLY IN MULTILATERAL AND BILATERAL 
ASSISTANCE, NO WONDER THE GVN FEELS JUSTIFIED IN "STAYING 
THE COURSE" WITH A HEAVILY STATE-LED MACROECONOMIC APPROACH 
THAT EMPHASIZES POVERTY REDUCTION AND WHICH IS BASED IN 
LARGE PART ON ABUNDANT AID FLOWS.  END COMMENT. 
 
--------------------------------- 
PLAYING POKER WITH A BAD HAND: 
WE NEED AID AND SPECIAL TREATMENT 
--------------------------------- 
 
10. (C) VIETNAMESE LEADERS ROUTINELY EMPHASIZE THAT VIETNAM 
IS A POOR, UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRY THAT IS APPROACHING GLOBAL 
TRADE FROM A POSITION OF WEAKNESS.  PHIEU WAS CANDID IN 
ADMITTING THAT VIETNAM MUST BE "VIGILANT" IN PROCEEDING WITH 
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.  HE SAID THE SRV FACES "NUMEROUS 
OPPONENTS FROM MORE DEVELOPED ECONOMIES, STRONGER POWERS AND 
BETTER POSITIONS."  OVERALL, THE TONE IS THAT VIETNAM MUST 
BE CAUTIOUS AND CAREFUL, LEST IT BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF IN 
RELATIONS WITH STRONGER POWERS. 
 
11. (C) WHILE DISCUSSING THE U.S.-VIETNAM BILATERAL TRADE 
AGREEMENT (BTA) WITH VISITING SECDEF COHEN, PRIME MINISTER 
KHAI WAS VERY POINTED IN SAYING THAT VIETNAM CANNOT COMPETE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HANOI  00686  03 OF 07  050822Z 
WITH OTHER COUNTRIES SUCH AS THE U.S.  HE SAID THAT, WITHIN 
THE BILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS, THERE MUST BE 
PROVISIONS THAT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT "THE REALITY THAT VIETNAM 
IS AN UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRY."  KHAI FURTHER MADE A PITCH 
FOR INCREASED ASSISTANCE TO VIETNAM, SAYING THE U.S. "CANNOT 
UNDERSTAND THE FULL DIFFICULTIES WE ARE FACING."  KHAI MADE 
AN APPEAL BASED ON VIETNAM'S LOSSES OF "MORE THAN 3 MILLION 
PERSONS," BOTH MILITARY AND CIVILIAN, DURING WARTIME.  HE 
SAID THE GVN CONTINUES TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO 1.2 MILLION 
FAMILIES WHO LOST RELATIVES DURING THE WAR, AS WELL AS TO 
THOSE WHO ALLEGEDLY WERE HARMED BY "CHEMICALS" DURING THE 
WAR. 
 
12. (C) POLITBURO MEMBER NGUYEN PHU TRONG, CURRENTLY HEAD OF 
THE HANOI PARTY COMMITTEE, RAISED THE THEME OF VIETNAM'S 
WEAKNESS IN A RECENT ARTICLE IN "COMMUNIST REVIEW."  TRONG 
OBSERVED, "THE NATIONAL AND CLASS STRUGGLES ARE PROCEEDING 
IN A VERY INTENSE AND FIERCE MANNER.  THE SCIENTIFIC AND 
TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION IS DEVELOPING TEMPESTUOUSLY. 
MEANWHILE, OUR CAPACITY FOR COMPREHENSION AND INTELLECTUAL 
LEVEL ARE LIMITED."  TRONG FEARS THAT "HOSTILE FORCES ARE 
TRYING TO ATTACK AND UNDERMINE OUR PEOPLE'S REVOLUTIONARY 
CAUSE BY ALL MEANS.  THEY HAVE MADE EVERY EFFORT TO 
MISREPRESENT AND SLANDER OUR PARTY AND STATE AND DIRECTLY 
STRIKE AT THE IDEOLOGICAL SYSTEM, POLITICAL PROGRAM AND 
POLITICAL LINE OF OUR PARTY IN AN ATTEMPT TO CAUSE OUR PARTY 
TO DISINTEGRATE FROM ITS ROOTS AND FROM WITHIN." 
 
---------------------------- 
THE DANGERS OF GLOBALIZATION 
---------------------------- 
 
13. (C) REINFORCING THE NEED FOR A STRONG STATE SECTOR AND 
THE RISKS OF ECONOMIC REFORM, IN THE EYES OF SRV LEADERS, 
ARE THEIR FEARS ABOUT THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF GLOBALIZATION. 
ON REPEATED OCCASIONS VIETNAMESE LEADERS HAVE VOICED THEIR 
CONCERNS ABOUT THE INSTABILITY BROUGHT TO THE REGION BY THE 
EAST ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS.  PARTICULARLY ATTENTION-GETTING 
IN HANOI WAS THE IMPACT OF THE REGIONAL CRISIS ON THE 
POLITICAL STABILITY OF THE FORMERLY DE FACTO ONE-PARTY STATE 
OF INDONESIA.  ALSO OF CONCERN WAS THE IMPACT OF THE CRISIS 
IN SETTING BACK POVERTY REDUCTION EFFORTS IN THAT COUNTRY 
AND OTHERS. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HANOI  00686  04 OF 07  050823Z 
 
14. (C) IN RECENT SPEECHES AND STATEMENTS, SENIOR LEADERS 
HAVE SPOKEN OF GLOBALIZATION IN HIGHLY AMBIVALENT WAYS. 
THOUGH SEEN AS AN "INEVITABLE" PROCESS, GLOBALIZATION IS 
VIEWED AS A LARGELY NEGATIVE PHENOMENON THAT MUST BE MANAGED 
CAREFULLY.  (COMMENT: THIS IS IN CONTRAST TO HOW MANY IN THE 
WEST SEE VIETNAM, BELIEVING THAT GLOBALIZATION PROVIDES 
ENORMOUS OPPORTUNITIES FOR A POOR COUNTRY WITH GREAT HUMAN 
RESOURCES, LIKE VIETNAM, TO MAKE QUICK PROGRESS 
DEVELOPMENTALLY.  END COMMENT.) 
 
15. (C) AT THE MEETING OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON 
TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT (UNCTAD) IN BANGKOK FEBRUARY 13, PM 
KHAI NOTED THAT THE TRENDS OF GLOBALIZATION AND 
REGIONALIZATION OFFER BOTH OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR 
UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES LIKE VIETNAM.  KHAI SAID NO 
NATIONAL ECONOMY "CAN EXIST INDEPENDENTLY AMIDST THE GROWING 
INTERDEPENDENCE OF NATIONAL ECONOMIES."  IN ORDER FOR POOR 
COUNTRIES TO BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, 
THEY NEED SPECIAL TREATMENT.  HE OPINED THAT GLOBALIZATION 
REQUIRES THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY "TO PAY SPECIAL 
ATTENTION TO MAPPING OUT SOLUTIONS THAT BENEFIT POOR AND 
BACKWARD COUNTRIES."  HE SAID DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ARE "IN 
GREAT NEED OF ACTIVE ASSISTANCE FROM DEVELOPED COUNTRIES TO 
COMPREHENSIVELY AND EQUALLY ENGAGE IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC 
RELATIONS."  HE SAID WTO DEVELOPED MEMBERS "SHOULD GIVE 
PRIORITY ... TO (CREATING) FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR THOSE 
COUNTRIES THAT ARE NEGOTIATING FOR WTO MEMBERSHIP."  THE 
AGENDA OF THE WTO SHOULD CREATE "A MORE FAVORABLE 
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ENVIRONMENT" AND ALLOW THEM TO 
"ENJOY SPECIAL PRIORITY (TREATMENT) WITHOUT ANY KIND OF 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HANOI  00686  04 OF 07  050823Z 
DISCRIMINATION." 
 
16. (C) IN HIS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPEECH, GENERAL SECRETARY 
PHIEU OUTLINED A PROFOUNDLY NEGATIVE VIEW OF GLOBALIZATION. 
AFTER TRACING THE HISTORICAL ROLE OF IMPERIALISM IN 
SUBJUGATING PEOPLES IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD, PHIEU GOES ON 
TO STATE THAT IMPERIALISM STILL EXISTS, BUT IT HAS ADOPTED 
DIFFERENT FORMS.  "IMPERIALIST FORCES HAVE EXPANDED THE 
WORLD MARKET EVERYWHERE FOR MAXIMUM PROFIT.  AT THE SAME 
TIME, COUNTRIES WHICH HAVE REGAINED INDEPENDENCE RECENTLY 
AFTER A LONG PERIOD OF SLAVERY ARE POOR, BACKWARD, AND 
LOOKING FOR WAYS TO DEVELOP."  HE SAID THEY NEED CAPITAL, 
SCIENCE, HIGH TECHNOLOGY, MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE, 
INTELLECTUALS, AND SKILLED WORKERS.  BUT, HE ADDS, "THESE 
THINGS ARE IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO OBTAIN UNDER THE 
DOMINATION OF IMPERIALISM."  PHIEU SAYS THAT DEVELOPING 
COUNTRIES MUST DEVISE NEW STRATEGIES "TO DEAL WITH NEW AND 
UNFAIR TRICKS PLAYED ON THEM BY THEIR OPPONENTS."  (COMMENT: 
EVEN IF THIS IS LARGELY IDEOLOGICAL BOILERPLATE FOR THE 
PARTY FAITHFUL, IT IS REVEALING FOR ITS EXCESSIVE CONCERN, 
EVEN PARANOIA, ABOUT THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF ENGAGING THE 
WORLD.  PHIEU'S VIEW IS THAT GLOBALIZATION IS A ZERO-SUM 
GAME, AND VIETNAM IS LIKELY TO GET THE SHORT END OF THE 
STICK.  IN SEVERAL PLACES, HE VIRTUALLY EQUATES 
GLOBALIZATION AND IMPERIALISM.  END COMMENT.) 
 
 
 
17. (C) TAKING THEIR CUES FROM PARTY LEADERS, GOVERNMENT 
OFFICIALS LIKEWISE ARE SOUNDING THESE NOTES, IF NOT AS 
HARSHLY AS PHIEU.  FOREIGN MINISTER NIEN, ON HIS FIRST 
OFFICIAL TRIP TO JAPAN MARCH 10 AFTER ASSUMING HIS POST THE 
MONTH BEFORE, URGED JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER KONO TO 
HIGHLIGHT THE DETRIMENTAL ASPECTS OF ECONOMIC GLOBALIZATION 
WHEN JAPAN HOSTS THE GROUP OF EIGHT MEETING IN JULY, 
ACCORDING TO A JAPANESE MFA OFFICIAL QUOTED BY THE KYODO 
NEWS SERVICE.  IN THE SAME WAY, DEPUTY NATIONAL ASSEMBLY 
CHAIRMAN VU DINH CU SPOKE OUT MARCH 6 IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 
MOUTHPIECE "NHAN DAN" ("THE PEOPLE") ABOUT THE IMPACT 
GLOBALIZATION WOULD HAVE ON VIETNAM.  CU SAID "RAPID OPENING 
OF THE GLOBAL MARKET" WOULD LEAD TO MASSIVE BANKRUPTCY OF 
VIETNAMESE COMPANIES THAT ARE WEAK IN FINANCIAL, 
TECHNOLOGICAL AND MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES.  THIS WOULD 
RESULT IN GREATLY INCREASED UNEMPLOYMENT, HE SAID. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HANOI  00686  05 OF 07  050823Z 
-------------------------------------- 
GLOBALIZATION CREATES MORE POOR PEOPLE 
-------------------------------------- 
 
18. (C) PRIME MINISTER KHAI TOOK THIS THEME ONE STEP FURTHER 
WHEN HE TOLD VISITING SECDEF COHEN MARCH 13 THAT 
GLOBALIZATION WILL INCREASE THE NUMBER OF POOR PEOPLE.  KHAI 
SAID GLOBALIZATION AND INTEGRATION ARE "STILL CONTROVERSIAL 
ISSUES" IN VIETNAM.  SPEAKING OF HIS ATTENDANCE AT THE 
UNCTAD CONFERENCE IN BANGKOK, KHAI SAID THERE WAS A LOT OF 
CONTROVERSY BETWEEN RICH AND POOR COUNTRIES, PARTICULARLY 
OVER HOW TO BRIDGE THE GAP OF WEALTH BETWEEN THEM.  HE ADDED 
THAT VIETNAM RECOGNIZES GLOBALIZATION IS "THE INTERNATIONAL 
TENDENCY, WHICH WE CANNOT AVOID."  BUT HE SAID EACH COUNTRY 
NEEDS TO CHOOSE ITS OWN APPROACH TO DEVELOP ITSELF AND RAISE 
LIVING STANDARDS. 
 
19. (C) COMMENT: IT IS STRIKING HOW NEGATIVELY EVEN 
VIETNAM'S MORE TECHNOCRATIC/REFORMIST LEADERS, SUCH AS KHAI, 
SEE THE PROCESS OF GLOBALIZATION.  THEIR WARINESS REINFORCES 
THEIR CAUTION, AND CAUSES THE LEADERSHIP AS A GROUP TO FAVOR 
SHORT-TERM STABILITY RATHER THAN OPEN UP THE ECONOMY IN WAYS 
THAT WOULD PAY LONG-TERM REWARDS.  HOWEVER, THE CHALLENGES 
ARE DAUNTING: MORE THAN ONE MILLION NEW JOBS NEED TO BE 
CREATED EVERY YEAR IN THIS EXTRAORDINARILY YOUNG COUNTRY IN 
ORDER TO KEEP UP WITH POPULATION GROWTH.  END COMMENT. 
 
20. (C) PREDICTABLY, IN HIS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPEECH, PHIEU 
TOUCHED ON THIS THEME AS WELL.  HE STATED, "WHEN IMPERIALISM 
ACCELERATES THE LIBERALIZATION OF WORLD TRADE, SERVICE AND 
INVESTMENT, RICH COUNTRIES WILL BECOME RICHER, AND THE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HANOI  00686  05 OF 07  050823Z 
POVERTY GAP BETWEEN RICH COUNTRIES AND POOR COUNTRIES WILL 
BECOME WIDER." 
 
--------------------------- 
A SCREED AGAINST TECHNOLOGY 
--------------------------- 
 
21. (C) THE MORE IDEOLOGICAL MEMBERS OF THE POLITBURO, SUCH 
AS PHIEU AND TRONG, ALSO HAVE RAILED AGAINST DELETERIOUS 
ASPECTS OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES.  PHIEU'S 
70TH ANNIVERSARY SPEECH WAS THE MOST JARRING, THOUGH THERE 
HAVE BEEN ECHOES ELSEWHERE AS WELL (SUCH AS BY TRONG, CITED 
PARA 11 ABOVE).  COMING DEEP OUT OF LEFT FIELD, PHIEU 
CLAIMED THAT "CAPITALISM AND IMPERIALISM WERE BROUGHT TO 
LIFE BY THE DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY."  HE GOES 
ON TO NOTE, POSITIVELY, THAT SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL 
ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY CAN HELP BRING ABOUT BETTER 
AND MORE CIVILIZED LIVING CONDITIONS.  BUT HERE AGAIN THE 
OVERRIDING TONE IS ONE OF CONCERN: "PEOPLE ARE STILL 
WORRIED."  HISTORY HAS SHOWN, PHIEU SAID, THAT "A HIGHER 
LEVEL OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY WILL BRING ABOUT A HIGHER 
AND MORE SEVERE LEVEL OF WAR AND ECONOMIC CRISIS." 
 
22. (C) COMMENT: IN A UNIQUE VARIATION ON THE CLASSIC 
THEORY, PHIEU SEEMS TO BELIEVE IN AN "INVISIBLE HAND" THAT 
IS SOMEHOW AT WORK IN THE GLOBAL TRADING SYSTEM AND 
TECHNOLOGICAL TRANSFER TO ATTEMPT TO SUBVERT THE INTERESTS 
OF VIETNAM.  END COMMENT. 
 
--------------------------------- 
THE DANGERS OF A MONO-POLAR WORLD 
--------------------------------- 
 
23. (C) THESE CONCERNS ABOUT THE HARMFUL ASPECTS OF 
GLOBALIZATION ECONOMICALLY AND TECHNOLOGICALLY ARE ALSO 
REFLECTED IN VIETNAMESE LEADERS' VIEWS OF INTERNATIONAL 
RELATIONS.  PHIEU SAID, "AFTER THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET 
UNION AND THE SOCIALIST COUNTRIES IN EASTERN EUROPE, THE 
IMPERIALIST FORCES HAVE CONTINUOUSLY SOUGHT WAYS TO TOTALLY 
ELIMINATE THE REMAINING SOCIALIST COUNTRIES AND HAVE WAGED 
WARS AGAINST MOVEMENTS OF INDEPENDENCE, DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL 
PROGRESS."  IN PARTICULAR, NATO MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST 
THE BOSNIAN SERBS IN BOSNIA AND AGAINST SERBIA OVER KOSOVO 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HANOI  00686  06 OF 07  050823Z 
HEIGHTENED VIETNAMESE CONCERNS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF U.S. 
MILITARY ACTION.  PHIEU SAID, "ALL PEOPLE ARE CLOSELY 
FOLLOWING NEW DEVELOPMENTS AFTER THE KOSOVO INCIDENT."  HE 
SAID, "OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES ARE TRYING TO INCREASE 
POWER TO FRUSTRATE THE CONSPIRACY TO ESTABLISH 'A MONO-POLAR 
ORDER IN A MULTI-POLAR WORLD.'"  (COMMENT: NATO'S BOMBING OF 
BELGRADE BECAUSE OF THE CONFLICT IN KOSOVO RESONATED DEEPLY 
IN HANOI, WHICH HAS NOT FORGOTTEN U.S. BOMBING OF NORTHERN 
VIETNAMESE CITIES THREE DECADES AGO.  END COMMENT.) 
 
24. (C) FOREIGN MINISTER NIEN, IN HIS FEBRUARY 17 SPEECH TO 
THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS OUTLINING VIETNAM'S FOREIGN POLICY 
PRIORITIES, SAID VIETNAM WILL PRESS FORWARD WITH 
INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION.  HE SAID VIETNAM 
WILL ALSO SEEK TO PROMOTE TIES WITH MAJOR POWERS AND 
NEIGHBORING STATES, WHILE ALSO SEEKING TO STEP UP RELATIONS 
WITH "TRADITIONAL FRIENDS AND THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT." 
(WE NOTE THAT IN THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS, VIETNAM HAS 
ARRANGED HIGH-LEVEL VISITS OR FOCUSED INCREASED ATTENTION ON 
RUSSIA, IRAQ, CUBA AND NORTH KOREA.)  NIEN SAID THAT, IN 
ORDER TO STRENGTHEN ITS INDEPENDENCE AND SOVEREIGNTY, HANOI 
WILL SEEK TO FURTHER DIVERSIFY ITS FOREIGN RELATIONS. 
 
25. (C) PHAM THE DUYET, THE FIFTH-RANKING POLITBURO MEMBER 
AND HEAD OF THE FATHERLAND FRONT, RECENTLY OUTLINED A HIGHLY 
IDEOLOGICAL VIEW OF THE ROLE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY IN 
VIETNAM'S FOREIGN RELATIONS.  IN AN ARTICLE ON "THE 
INTERNATIONAL MISSION OF THE PARTY" PUBLISHED IN FEBRUARY IN 
THE COMMUNIST REVIEW, HE EMPHASIZED THAT MARXISM-LENINISM 
AND HO CHI MINH THOUGHT FORM THE FOUNDATION OF VIETNAM'S 
FOREIGN POLICY, ARISING FROM THE COUNTRY'S REVOLUTIONARY 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HANOI  00686  06 OF 07  050823Z 
TRADITION.  HE CAUTIONED VIETNAM MUST REMAIN TRUE TO THIS 
HERITAGE TO AVOID THE ERRORS OF THE FORMER COMMUNIST STATES 
IN THE SOVIET UNION AND EASTERN EUROPE, WHICH COLLAPSED 
AFTER THEY TRIED TO "REFORM."  HE ALSO HARSHLY CRITICIZED 
U.S.-LED NATO EFFORTS IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA.  HE SAID, 
"AMERICAN IMPERIALISM CARRIES OUT A HARD-LINE HEGEMONISTIC 
POLICY OF PRESSURING AND INTERFERING IN THE AFFAIRS OF OTHER 
COUNTRIES.  THE WAR OF AGGRESSION AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA CARRIED 
OUT BY AMERICA AND NATO IS A GRAPHIC RECENT EXAMPLE."  DUYET 
ADDED A WORD OF CAUTION: "IN THE PROCESS OF INTEGRATION WITH 
THE WORLD ECONOMY, WE MUST GRASP FIRMLY (THE PRINCIPLE) OF 
SIMULTANEOUS STRUGGLE AND COOPERATION." 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
IDEOLOGY'S SHADOW: HISTORY HAS NOT ENDED IN VIETNAM 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
26. (C) COMMENT: WHEN ONE ANALYZES RECENT SPEECHES AND 
STATEMENTS BY VIETNAMESE LEADERS, ONE IS STRUCK BY THE 
STRONG UNDERCURRENT OF IDEOLOGICAL RHETORIC.  AT ONE LEVEL, 
THIS CAN BE ASCRIBED TO VIETNAM'S "PRIMARY SEASON" IN THE 
RUN-UP TO THE ELECTIONS FOR NEXT SPRING'S NINTH PARTY 
CONGRESS.  HOWEVER, THIS RATCHETING UP OF IDEOLOGICAL THEMES 
SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED LIGHTLY.  WHILE AT A SURFACE LEVEL 
VIETNAM'S LEADERS SAY THEY DO NOT WANT TO FOCUS ON THE 
LEGACY OF THE WAR-TIME YEARS, THE HISTORY OF CONFLICT THREE 
DECADES AGO CONTINUES TO PROFOUNDLY SHAPE THE WORLDVIEW OF 
THE COUNTRY'S SENIOR LEADERS.  MANY OF THEM ARE FEARFUL AND 
SUSPICIOUS OF WESTERN, AND ESPECIALLY AMERICAN, INTENTIONS. 
 
27. (C) COMMENT (CONT'D): AS WE CONTINUE TO PRESS FORWARD 
SEEKING A BILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENT AND OTHER MAJOR REFORMS, 
WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT MANY SENIOR LEADERS ARE DEEPLY 
DISTRUSTFUL OF THE U.S.  THEIR FUNDAMENTAL CAUTION AND 
CONSENSUS-ORIENTED NATURE, COMBINED WITH A GENUINE FEAR OF 
BEING HOODWINKED BY THE WEST, COMBINE TO DISCOURAGE MAJOR 
PROGRESS ON ECONOMIC REFORM.  THOUGH WE HAVE MADE GREAT 
STRIDES IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTIVE RELATIONS WITH WORKING- 
LEVEL SRV OFFICIALS AND INCREASING THEIR APPRECIATION FOR 
THE BENEFITS OF ENGAGING THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY, THE SECRETIVE 
AND INSULAR POLITBURO IS ANOTHER STORY.  IN THE SEAT OF 
ULTIMATE POLITICAL POWER, PARTY VETERANS CONTINUE TO USE 
IDEOLOGICAL SLOGANS TO RESIST MOVING FORWARD ON REFORM. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HANOI  00686  07 OF 07  050824Z 
THEY DO THIS FOR SEVERAL REASONS: TO PROTECT THEIR PERSONAL 
PERKS OF POWER, TO GUARD AGAINST THE SOCIAL INSTABILITY THEY 
GENUINELY FEAR, AND TO CONFRONT WHAT THEY SEE AS A U.S. 
"GLOBAL STRATEGY" OF POWER PROJECTION THAT IMPOSES "AMERICAN 
SOLUTIONS" IN PLACES SUCH AS KOSOVO AND EAST TIMOR.  IN SUM, 
THERE IS AN ENORMOUS GAP BETWEEN HOW THEY AND WE SEE 
GLOBALIZATION AND VIETNAM'S ENGAGEMENT WITH THE REST OF THE 
WORLD.  OUR HOPE IS THAT, IN TIME, VIETNAM'S LEADERSHIP WILL 
BE ABLE TO SHED SOME OF ITS IDEOLOGICAL DEAD SKIN.  UNTIL 
THAT HAPPENS, HOWEVER, THIS COUNTRY OF DYNAMIC, HARD-WORKING 
PEOPLE WITH A STRONG COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION WILL CONTINUE 
TO BE HELD BACK BY ITS LEADERS, MANY OF WHOM SUBSCRIBE TO 
STERILE IDEOLOGICAL MANTRAS FROM ANOTHER ERA.  END COMMENT. 
PETERSON 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 
 

 2000HANOI00686 - CONFIDENTIAL 


Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04