US embassy cable - 00HANOI1316

AMBASSADOR REVIEWS RELATIONS WITH FM NIEN

Identifier: 00HANOI1316
Wikileaks: View 00HANOI1316 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Hanoi
Created: 2000-06-15 08:19:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL ETRD VM US
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.

150819Z Jun 00

2000HANOI01316 - CONFIDENTIAL
 
 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3398

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      DOEE-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  OES-01   OMB-01   
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      DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /011W
                  ------------------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 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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 
 
 


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