INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Mfa Reshuffles -- Good News for U.S.

Published: Fri 31 Oct 2003 06:15 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HANOI 002788
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
STATE FOR EAP A/S KELLY AND EAP/BCLTV
ALSO FOR INR/B
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINR VM FR
SUBJECT: MFA RESHUFFLES -- GOOD NEWS FOR U.S.
1. (U) This is an action request -- see para 6.
2. (SBU) Deputy Foreign Minister Le Van Bang informed
Ambassador October 31 that his area of responsibility had
been shifted from the Northeast Asia portfolio to the
Americas, effective that day. He noted that the news would
not be announced until early November and asked that we not
share publicly. He will retain oversight for International
Organization affairs (including human rights), budget and
finance, and international NGOs.
3. (SBU) Senior Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Dinh Bin
will be named Ambassador to France. Comment: Bin has been
an often difficult interlocutor, usually prickly and
aggressive. While he understands English, he prefers to
respond in Vietnamese. End comment
4. (SBU) Bang indicated that he would be "at least" #3 in
the MFA hierarchy. This likely means that Deputy Le Cong
Phung, who will retain responsibility for European affairs
and may assume duties for Middle East and African affairs,
will be the senior Deputy. Bang confirmed that the number
of Deputy Ministers will go down to only three (from the
current five), although there are also two Assistant Foreign
Ministers (one of whom is simultaneously Director General of
the Americas Department).
5. (SBU) Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Phu Binh will take
over the Northeast Asia account. Bang noted that Binh
speaks fluent Korean, having both studied in North Korea and
served as the SRV Ambassador in Seoul.
6. (U) Comment and action request: Bang's oversight of
American affairs is good news for the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral
relationship, to which Bang has devoted most of his
professional career. He remains an enthusiastic promoter of
better ties, and will be seeking to establish a new, more
formal "framework" for comprehensive relations, including a
"roadmap" for more regular activities and high-level visits.
(Vietnam has signed similar framework agreements with the
PRC and other major partners.) Embassy recommends the
following congratulatory message from A/S Kelly to DFM Bang:
Begin text
H.E. Mr. Le Van Bang
Deputy Foreign Minister
Socialist Republic of Vietnam:
Dear Mr. Minister,
I was delighted to hear that you will assume responsibility
for the Americas portfolio in your Ministry. Your personal
contributions to the steady improvement of U.S.-Vietnam
ties, including both the formal establishment of diplomatic
relations and your successful tour in Washington, D.C. as
the first SRV Ambassador, have been notable and much
appreciated.
I wish you the very best of luck in your new and still
challenging responsibilities, and look forward to working
closely with you to promote even better ties between our two
countries, which is clearly in the interests of both our
nations and peoples. I hope to welcome you soon to
Washington, perhaps first during the upcoming visit of
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan.
Best regards.
Sincerely,
James A. Kelly
end text
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