Monday, June 25, 2007
For the first time since the government of South Vietnam fell, a Vietnamese president visited the White House.
Invited by President Bush during his trip to Saigon last November, President Nguyen Minh Triet touted the recent economic progress his country has made, and pushed for further cooperation between our two countries.
Friday's unprecedented – albeit relatively low-profile – visit to the White House by a Vietnamese head of state marks the culmination of a lengthy normalization process between two countries that ended their war 32 years ago.
But while President Nguyen Minh Triet wants to talk mainly about how Washington can spur more US investment his fast-growing economy, his luncheon host, George W. Bush, is being pressed to steer the conversation more towards Vietnam's human rights record and an ongoing crackdown in which dozens of dissidents are believed to have been arrested around the country since the end of last year.
Friday, June 22, 2007
US President George W. Bush is to meet his Vietnam counterpart for talks on Friday amid pressure from US lawmakers and activist groups to address human rights abuses in the southeast Asian state.
Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet, on a landmark visit to the United States, directly faced a barrage of complaints on the alleged abuses when he visited Capitol Hill on Thursday for closed-door talks with lawmakers.
In March, Le Quoc Quan returned to his native Vietnam after finishing a fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington. He was promptly arrested and charged with planning to overthrow the government. The charges make sense in the communist country: His fellowship focused on how to peacefully spread democracy. Under pressure from the U.S. he was released on Saturday.
Today, President Bush will meet with the president of Vietnam, Nguyen Minh Triet, at the White House. High on the agenda will be the Southeast Asian nation's record on human rights. America's military efforts to stop the communist takeover of South Vietnam ended in defeat more than 30 years ago. The result was what many Vietnamese call the "dark years," a period of oppression and economic stagnation that lasted until the mid-1980s. But now something interesting is happening. America is once again waging a campaign for freedom in Vietnam, only this time with "soft power" and bipartisan support.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Hundreds of Vietnamese anti-communist protesters marched outside the White House Friday as Vietnam's president made a historic visit to US President George W Bush. About 1,000 demonstrators staged a noisy protest, shouting "Freedom for Vietnam" and holding up placards as they rallied at the White House fence.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) today introduced a resolution, H.RES. 506, calling for Vietnam’s re-designation as a Country of Particular Concern and for the removal of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) if Vietnam does not immediately and significantly improve its human rights record. Since Vietnam was removed as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) and was extended permanent normal trade relations in 2006, it has continued a brutal crackdown on peaceful human rights activists. The series of arrests made by the Vietnamese government includes Father Nguyen Van Ly, Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thi Cong Nhan, and other political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The Vietnamese President's trip to the U.S. this week marks a historic step in postwar ties between the two countries, and also an opportunity. Business will certainly be on the agenda when Nguyen Minh Triet meets George W. Bush on Friday. But Hanoi's human-rights record will also be a central topic of discussion throughout the visit, whether Mr. Triet wants it to be or not.
Vietnam's economy, which Mr. Triet hopes to promote on this visit, is increasingly dependent on trade with the U.S. Vietnam exported $6.6 billion in goods to the U.S. in 2005, the most recent year for which comprehensive data are available. Its gross domestic product that year was $52 billion, while the U.S. market accounted for 20% of Vietnam's exports. That share has been growing steadily as Vietnam weans itself off its dependence on its Asian neighbors and the former Soviet Union.
When President George W. Bush sits down with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet at the White House on Friday, it will be the first time that a Communist President of Vietnam has called on the President of the former enemy, the United States. The meeting may also mark a turning point in the history of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Vietnam's industrious people and cultural heritage make it a country rich in natural and human resources. For too long, Vietnam's authoritarian state trampled on the country's tremendous potential by crushing freedoms and basic human rights. After South Vietnam ceased to exist, a million people were sent to re-education camps, and an estimated one million more fled to foreign shores. Inside Vietnam, the demagogic North -- wielding terror and deception -- collectivized agriculture, confiscated property, prohibited private businesses, monopolized educational and cultural activities and applied various other forms of government- and party repression. The national economy stagnated.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Hanoi - Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet departed Monday morning for a five-day trip to the United States that is expected to mend the two countries' diplomatic relationship, which was dented by US displeasure at a Vietnamese crackdown on political dissidents this spring. Triet will meet with US President George W Bush at the White House on Friday, where the two will sign a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. His first stop will be New York, where a raft of prominent business, political, and education leaders have scheduled events with him, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
Vietnamese leaders expect the visit, the first to the US by a Vietnamese head of state, to enhance the two countries' relations on both the diplomatic and business fronts.
Vietnam's President Nguyen Minh Triet is expected to get an earful of human rights complaints when he makes his maiden visit to the United States this week despite a last-minute release of a couple of imprisoned activists.
The concerns are to be conveyed to him by President George W. Bush's administration as well as leaders from the Democratic party-controlled Congress during his June 18-23 trip, officials said.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Vietnam has released a detained pro-democracy lawyer, just days before the Vietnamese president is to visit the United Sates.
Vietnamese officials released Le Quoc Quan Saturday. He was detained in March after returning from a five-month fellowship in the United States.
His detention has been part of a wider crackdown by Vietnamese authorities on democracy activists that has drawn criticism from U.S. authorities. President George Bush has said he plans to bring up the crackdown when he meets in Washington with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet on June 22.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Authorities on Saturday released a lawyer who was on a U.S. list of activists detained this year by Vietnam, two days before President Nguyen Minh Triet goes to the United States on a state visit.
The Vietnam News Agency reported that Le Quoc Quan, 36, who was detained in March after returning to Vietnam from a five-month fellowship in the United States, was released to his family in Hanoi.
Vietnam released a political dissident yesterday, the third the communist nation has freed ahead of President Nguyen Minh Triet's historic trip to the United States, state press reported.
Le Quoc Quan, a 36-year-old lawyer, was released to his family in the capital, Hanoi, the Vietnam News Agency reported. He had been detained since March 8, shortly after he returned from a five-month fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy, a political institute in Washington.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Twenty-five years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan delivered one of the most significant speeches of his presidency. Standing before the British parliament in the historic Westminster Palace nearly a decade before the demise of the Soviet Union, he offered the vision of "a plan and a hope for the long-term — the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people."
Monday, June 4, 2007
An official visit to the United States by Vietnam's President Nguyen Minh Triet, which was in doubt until a few days ago, will now go ahead in a fortnight's time after Vietnam agreed to release some political dissidents.