Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Vietnam

Newsline: Cambodians rally in front of Vietnamese Embassy

Around 100 ethnic minority Khmer Krom monks and activists in Cambodia continued their rally in front of the Vietnamese Embassy here on Sunday, marking the 2nd day of a fresh protest against a Vietnamese diplomat. The rally, expected to last until Wednesday, is to demand a Vietnamese diplomat to recognize that Kampuchea Krom, which is now a part of Vietnam, is Cambodia’s former territory. Protesters are rallying outside the embassy, which is fortified by riot police and heavy steel barricades. There is no report of violence even though those protesters gather without permission from the Phnom Penh Municipality. On Saturday, the first day of the protest, activists set Vietnamese flags on fire outside the embassy. The minority Khmer Krom community has launched a number of protests against Vietnam in recent months after Trung Van Thong, a spokesman for the Vietnamese embassy to Cambodia, commented on a radio program in June that South Vietnam, which protesters claim was once part of former Kampuchea Krom provinces, belonged to Vietnam “long” before France’s official transfer of the land in 1949. A protest leader Thach Sitha, president of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association, said Saturday that the protest was to demand an apology from the Vietnamese diplomat and to urge him to accept the true history of the former Kampuchea Krom provinces.


Newsline: Vietnamese diplomat sacked for fleeing to US on official trip to Canada

A diplomat from Can Tho who attempted to resign after fleeing to the US during an official trip to Canada was fired by the city government. The municipal authorities issued a statement announcing that Tran Ngoc Phi Long has been dismissed from his post as deputy head of the international relations office at the city’s Foreign Affairs Department. Long was criticized for being undisciplined and disorganized and separating himself from a delegation visiting Canada in early July and entering the US. Long was among 150 select officials that Can Tho once sent overseas to earn master’s degrees. Tuoi Tre said his education cost the city around VND300 million (US$14,100). In his resignation Long alleged that his health and family situation had required him to quit.


Newsline: Vietnamese diplomat flees to US during official trip

A senior foreign affairs official from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho escaped into the United States during an official trip to Canada. Days later, he submitted an official resignation through the mail. Tran Ngoc Phi Long, deputy head of the international relations division for Can Tho’s Foreign Affairs Department, separated himself from a delegation visiting Canada in early July and entered the US. The authorities have yet to determine Long’s purpose in fleeing. Long was among 150 select officials that Can Tho once sent overseas to earn master’s degrees. Tuoi Tre said his education cost the city around VND300 million (US$14,100).


Newsline: Australian Embassy in Vietnam comments on suppression orders

The Australian Embassy in Vietnam has issued a statement on the suppression orders issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria concerning the Australian-style polymer note printing case. The Embassy stressed that the suppression orders in question were not released by the Supreme Court of Victoria. It also noted that Australia takes the breach of the suppression orders extremely seriously and the matter has been referred to the police. According to the statement, the suppression orders were issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria on the application of the Australian Government. The Australian Government obtained suppression orders to prevent publication of information that could suggest the involvement in corruption by specific senior political figures in the region.


Newsline: Embassy in Ukraine evacuates Vietnamese from Donetsk

Vietnam’s embassy in Ukraine has started to evacuate nearly 300 Vietnamese from Donetsk due to the national government’s plan take back the rebel-occupied city in what many anticipate to be a bloody siege. The embassy has asked Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Transport to help evacuate any person in need. Several Vietnamese students have been brought to Kiev in the past week, and offered places to eat and sleep by community evacuation officials from Vietnam’s embassy. Many businesses and shopping malls owned by Vietnamese expatriates in Kiev have helped shelter the refugees. Nguyen Phuong Thao, a community official from the embassy, said the first Vietnamese evacuees were mostly women and children as men tried to stay behind to protect the family’s property for as long as possible. Vietnam’s ambassador to Ukraine, Nguyen Minh Tri, has visited the evacuees and called for all Vietnamese to leave Donetsk as soon as possible, noting that the conflict could escalate in unpredictable and complex ways.


Newsline: Cambodian Protesters, Police Clash at Vietnam Embassy

About 100 Cambodian students clashed briefly with police while protesting remarks made by a Vietnamese embassy official on the issue of Cambodian land lost to Hanoi. The protesters, from the Cambodian Students and Intellectuals movement, gathered outside the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh. No one was seriously injured in the scuffle with police, who tried to end what city officials called an illegal assembly. The student anger stems from reports in which a Vietnamese embassy spokesman, Tran Van Thong, is quoted as saying the Mekong River Delta had not belonged to Cambodia in the past. That portion of Vietnam today was once called Lower Cambodia, or Kampuchea Krom, and was partitioned to Vietnam by the French when they withdrew from their colonization of Indochina. It is a nationalistic flashpoint for many Cambodians. In a statement, the Vietnamese embassy said its spokesman had in fact said the region “is an integral part of the territory of Vietnam, in compliance with international law.” It said Vietnam condemns any “distortion” of the matter.


Newsline: US envoy nominee says he’s open to lifting arms ban on Vietnam

President Barack Obama’s nominee to become the next U.S. ambassador to Vietnam said Tuesday it may be time for Washington to consider lifting a ban on the sale and transfer of lethal weapons to the former American enemy. Ted Osius told his Senate confirmation hearing that the U.S. has made clear to the nation’s authoritarian government that the ban can’t be lifted without significant progress on human rights. Osius is a veteran diplomat who has served in Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. He was responding to a question from Republican Sen. John McCain who supports such a step. Any such move would be likely to anger China, which is locked in a territorial standoff with Vietnam and eyes increased U.S. engagement in Asia as an attempt to contain its rise. The U.S. and Vietnam re-established diplomatic relations in 1995, two decades after the end of the Vietnam War, and ties have improved markedly in recent years. In 2007, the U.S. opened the way for trade in non-lethal defense items and services on a case-by-case basis, but it is still prohibited under law from selling or transferring lethal items.