President Nguyen Minh Triet is set to meet with President Bush in Washington
on June 22 as the White House continues to condemn Viet Nam
’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists. Formal invitations have been sent to Triet, essentially confirming the first official visit by a Vietnamese head of state since 1975, Reuters
While the recent admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) has put Viet Nam on the map as an economic power, the ongoing crackdown leaves Washington in somewhat of a predicament between strengthening relations and criticizing violations of fundamental rights.
Triet’s visit is said to be out of reciprocity for a November visit by President Bush to the country. Issues to be discussed could include trade, education and disease eradication.
“I believe there is a recognition on both sides that individual events should not be an obstacle to continued dialogue aimed at strengthening ties,” said Tom Vallely, head of the Vietnam program at the Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
As the democracy crackdown continues, the U.S. and European Union have condemned the recent sentencing of at least seven activists and are calling for the release of such pro-democracy dissidents.
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Labels: activist, Viet Nam