Ktetaichinh’s Blog

March 25, 2009

Interview of Ms. Ton Nu Thi Ninh, Vice Chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee

Filed under: chính trị,thông tin — ktetaichinh @ 11:58 pm
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Question 1: Viet Nam has recently turned down US Representative Loretta Sanchez’s visa application to visit Viet Nam. Why?
Answer:
In the past years, Viet Nam – US relations have witnessed encouraging advances in many fields and through different channels, including that between the US Congress and the Vietnamese National Assembly, as demonstrated by the increasing number of US Congressmen who visit Viet Nam and vice-versa. For the sake of promoting relations of cooperation based on an equal footing, mutual benefit and mutual respect, Viet Nam’s National Assembly extends consistent support to US – Viet Nam exchanges and dialogue conducted in an open spirit and with good will. In that spirit, Viet Nam has welcomed many US Congressional and staff delegations. Regrettably however, Ms. Loretta Sanchez altogether lacks objectivity and good will toward Viet Nam. The Vietnamese National Assembly and Vietnamese public opinion share the view that a visit to Viet Nam by Ms. Loretta Sanchez would not serve Viet Nam – US relations.
Question 2: Would it not help Representative Loretta Sanchez gain a better understanding of Viet Nam and its policies if she were allowed to visit Viet Nam?
Answer:
Ms. Loretta Sanchez has already had two opportunities to visit Viet Nam in 1999 and 2000. Differences of views on specific issues are a normal thing between nations and states and we have had frank and constructive discussions with US Congressional delegations, including some who in fact disagreed with us. However, Ms. Loretta Sanchez has never shown any constructive objectivity or any real interest in moving the bilateral relations forward both during those two visits and in her subsequent deeds and statements. Regrettably, we cannot but conclude that thus far, such a visit would not serve any useful purpose either for Viet Nam or for Viet Nam – US relations.
Question 3: Are you not worried that the decision not to grant an entry visa to Representative Loretta Sanchez might send a negative message about Viet Nam’s openness?
Answer:
I believe that most Americans wish to set the past aside and to develop relations with Southeast Asian nations including Viet Nam. That a handful of people keep trying to oppose such relations cannot and should not be allowed to undermine the broad interest of strengthening the equal and mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation. I am travelling in the US in December and would be prepared to meet with Representative Loretta Sanchez if she deemed it might help narrow down differences and find common ground.
VNA’s Interview with Madame Ton Nu Thi Ninh, Vice-chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, National Assembly of Vietnam on US Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez’s remarks with the press in Hanoi (6 April, 2007)
Question: What do you have to say about Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez’s harsh criticisms about democracy and human rights in Vietnam?
Answer: First, that Ms Loretta Sanchez has never come to Vietnam with an open and objective mind, seriously looking at the whole picture. She does not come to observe and discuss but to follow a set activist agenda, dictated by an extremist minority of her constituents in California, who are mired in the past. It is regrettable that instead of responding to the forward looking but less vocal majority of her constituents, she chooses to remain hostage to the backward looking minority. Her gloomy, alarmist pronouncements on the situation in Vietnam were to be expected.
On the other hand, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez turns a blind eye to Vietnam’s own concerns in the area of human rights. She turned down or ignored requests by the Vietnam Veterans Association and the Association of Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin to meet with her on the latter issue or to visit the Friendship Village where victims of Agent Orange are taken care of.
Moreover, while in Vietnam her misplaced behaviour amounts to blatant interference in our internal affairs under the pretext of “bringing democracy” to Vietnam from outside. She is doing a disservice to US-Vietnam relations. We believe only in homegrown democracy, and the times are long past when developing nations supposedly needed to be enlightened and saved by developed nations. It is puzzling to us that elected officials like Ms Loretta Sanchez focus so much attention and devote such energy on human rights in Vietnam, i.e. abroad. Perhaps some of that attention and energy could be more constructively and appropriately directed closer to home, for example towards Guantanamo.
Question: Is the US Congressional delegation’s visit therefore unproductive?
Answer: I don’t think so. The delegation includes three other members of Congress from the Armed Services Committee, two of whom belong to the US-Vietnam Caucus in the House of Representatives. We had constructive discussions on the many aspects of the overall bilateral relationship, including on security and MIA cooperation as well as economic and trade ties. We welcome this first delegation from the new Congress, especially because it is the first delegation from the Armed Services Committee which we consider as a practical step to implement the joint undertaking adopted a year ago by the Speakers of the two countries to foster contacts and interaction between American and Vietnamese lawmakers in the interest of the expanding and deepening US-Vietnam relationship./.

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