Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, June 18, 2007

Vietnamese President calls for equal treatment by U.S.

As anticipation builds for the historic June 22 meeting between President Triet and President Bush, the Vietnamese head of state seeks “equal and fair treatment” in the U.S. market, Reuters

reported today. The main topics of discussion will be investment, education, human rights and dioxin cleanup, according to Triet.

Viet Nam seeks bolstered trade relations with the U.S., due to its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in January of this year. “In terms of economic issues, Vietnam wants the U.S. to provide favourable conditions in line with agreements of the WTO so that Vietnam's goods can penetrate into the U.S. market with equal and fair treatment,” President Triet remarked before embarking on his trip to the U.S.

The two main tensions between the U.S. and Viet Nam are the existence of lethal levels of dioxin in some parts of the country, the toxic component of the “agent orange” used during the Viet Nam war, and the human rights violations associated with Hanoi’s ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy activism. Viet Nam is seeking reparations and ‘clean-up’ aid as a means of resolving the ongoing effects of dioxin contamination. With regard to the crackdown, the White House seeks an understanding on the ability of dissidents to exercise their right to free expression amid calls for a multi-party system.

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