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Secretary of State Discusses Human Rights Concerns in Vietnam

July 22, 2010

I’m glad to see this:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Hanoi for a regional security forum, has hailed 15 years of improving relations with Vietnam since the war fought there 35 years ago. However, Clinton also cited outstanding human rights concerns in the one-party state.

At a ceremoney marking the anniversary Thurday, she noted that her husband, former president Bill Clinton, normalized relations with Vietnam and that U.S. investment contributed to the country’s fast development. She also praised the willingness of both sides to accept the past conflict and move beyond it.

“Thirty-five years ago we ended a war that inflicted terrible suffering on both our nations and still remains in living memory for many of our people,” Clinton said. “Despite that pain, we have dedicated ourselves to the hard work of building peace.”

She also said the U.S. and Vietnam now consistently move in the direction of engagement, cooperation, and dialogue — even on issues of disagreement.

After a meeting with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, she told journalists she raised American concerns about human rights in the one-party state.

“Vietnam, with its extraordinary and dynamic population, is on the path to becoming a great nation with an unlimited potential,” said Clinton. “And, that is among the reasons we express concern about arrest and conviction of people for peaceful dissent, attacks on religious groups and curbs on Internet freedom.”

Clinton also vowed to step up support for cleaning up Agent Orange, used by the U.S. military to clear land during the war. Agent Orange is believed responsible for causing sickness and birth defects.

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