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The Spokesman of MOFA's Regular Press briefing on 6 April, 2006


1. Chairman of National Assembly of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro Moros to visit Vietnam from April 9-14, 2006

At the invitation of Chairman of National Assembly of Vietnam Nguyen Van An, Chairman of National Assembly of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro Moros is expected to visit Vietnam from April 9-14, 2006. The visit aims to strengthen the relations of friendship and cooperation between the two National Assemblies and peoples.

2. Speaker of the US House of Representatives Dennis Hastert to visit Vietnam from April 14-17, 2006

At the invitation of Chairman of National Assembly of Vietnam Nguyen Van An, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Dennis Hastert will visit Vietnam from April 14-17, 2006. The visit is to exchange views on issues of the bilateral relations, especially in economic and trade fields.

3. The European Commissioner for External Relations to visit Vietnam from April 21-23, 2006

European Commissioner for External Relations, Madam Benita Ferrero- Waldner will visit from April 21-23, 2006. This is the first visit to Vietnam by Madam Benita Ferrero- Waldner and the first official visit paid by a European Commissioner for External Relations to the country in the last 10 years.

The visit will help further strengthen the relations of friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and the EU in general and between Vietnam and the European Commission (EC) in particular, help the EC and the EU officials better understand Vietnam's Doi moi Policy, socio- economic development strategy, international and regional economic integration policy and foreign policy. The visit also aims to discuss measures to implement the "Master Plan for Vietnam - EU Relations up to 2010 and towards 2015" to bring the Vietnam- EU relations to a new height, namely "equal partnership, comprehensive, long lasting and trusted cooperation for peace and development".

Answers to questions from foreign correspondents:

1. Reuters: Have the United States and Vietnam reached agreement in the March round of talks for Vietnam's entry to the WTO? If there is no bilateral agreement yet, is one likely before the US Congress starts its session this month and the starts of the Vietnam National Assembly session in May

Answer: The 11th round of bilateral negotiations between Vietnam and the US on Vietnam's accession to the WTO which was held from March 24-26, 2006 in Geneva has obtained important achievements and significantly narrowed the gap between the two sides. Both sides discussed issues of substance in opening markets for goods and services, and multilateral issues, approaching the possible conclusion of the bilateral negotiations at an early date.

However, there remain few issues requiring more time for the two sides to take into consideration and deal with, mainly in the field of services and some multilateral issues. Vietnam will continue cooperating with the US in organizing the next round in the earliest time. The venue will be determined later. Experience in negotiations on accession to the WTO of many countries, including Vietnam, shows that beside common efforts to solve technical issues, the settlement of outstanding issues and early conclusion of bilateral negotiations require cooperative efforts and political determination from both sides.

We hope the two sides could conclude the bilateral negotiations on Vietnam’s accession to the WTO in the earliest possible time.

2. Reuters: With the National Party Congress convening April 18-25, what would you describe as the main foreign policy goals of the Party and government in the next 5 years?

Answer: The 10th National Congress of Vietnam's Communist Party will be organized from April 18-25, 2006. This is an important political event of the Party and People's of Vietnam. The 10th Congress's mission is to evaluate the 20 years of comprehensive renovation of Vietnam, the 5 years of implementation of the 9th National Congress Resolution, continue to specify and improve guidelines and policies, determine the directions, targets and tasks for the next 5 years, and elect the Party Central Committee for the 2006-2010 period.

The draft Political Report of the 10th National Congress has been fully publicized in the mass media of Vietnam.

In the next 5 years, Vietnam will continue to "consistently carry out external activities along the line of independence, self- reliance, peace, cooperation and development, implement a foreign policy of openness, multilateralization and diversification of international relations; proactively and actively carry out international economic integration and at the same time expand international cooperation in other fields. Vietnam is a friend and trusted partnership of other countries in the international community, actively participating in international and regional cooperation.

External relation tasks are as follows:

- Firmly maintain a peaceful environment, create favorable international conditions for renovation cause, promote socio- economic development, industrialization and modernization, and national construction and defense;

- Actively contribute to the common fight of the world people for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress.

- Develop the established international relations in depth with stability and sustainability.

- Develop relations with all countries, territories and international organization in the world in the principles of mutual respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference into each other's internal affairs, no resorting to force or threatening to use force, solving disagreements and disputes through peaceful negotiations, mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit."

Delegates of the 10th National Party Congress will express their opinion on these tasks.

3. Reuters: Is Vietnam concerned about international donors re-considering some of their aid following the revelations of corruption at the PMU 18 agency within the Transport Ministry?

Answer: In the course of construction and development of Vietnam, ODA is an important capital source for development investment, economic growth and social development. ODA is being mobilized to develop major socio-economic infrastructure, agriculture, rural areas, communication and transport, electricity and energy, science, education and training as well as other areas.

The organization of bidding and implementation of ODA projects in Vietnam are being carried out in line with legal regulations under instructions by donors and strict supervision of international consultants. Vietnam is effectively and precisely using its ODA, which has been praised by the international community and donors.

However, the regime of legal documents relating to ODA management and usage of Vietnam is still in the process of improvement. Consequently, in managing and implementing ODA projects, there still exist some shortcomings. The Vietnamese Government continues to improve legal documents and decentralize so as to raise the sense of responsibility of ODA users and harmonize with legal regulations on ODA such as investment, construction and bidding.

Incidents of negative impact and corruption in PMU 18 are being under intensive investigation, legal procedures against the offenders are being prepared. The Vietnamese Party and state are determined to bring into light mistakes by organizations or individuals no matter who they are. On the basis of the investigation outcomes, competent agencies will apply strict measures in accordance with the state laws.

The Vietnamese Government always welcomes and is open to consultation by international donors. Strictly handling the PMU 18 corruption incident demonstrates our Government’s resolve in the fight against corruption and we are confident that this incident will not exert negative effect on commitment to Vietnam by international donors.

VNA: Please advise Vietnam's reaction to news reports that on April 4, 2006, five Vietnamese of the 21 held hostage in a fishing vessel of ROK while fishing in the international waters 100 km away from the Somalia shore.

Answer: As far as we know, on April 4, 2006, a fishing vessel named Dongwon-Ho 628 of ROK belonging to Dongwon Fishery Corporation was kidnapped by an armed group and brought to Somalia. Among the 25 sailors on the vessel were 5 Vietnamese who had been selected, trained and sent to work on Korean vessels by the Southern Vietnam River ways Transport Corporation under the Ministry of Transport.

We are very concerned about the wellbeing of the sailors. Under the instructions by the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is collaborating with MOLISA, MOT and ROK partners to intensively seek all necessary measures to soon free and save the life and property of the sailors.

The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry has instructed the Vietnamese Embassies in Tanzania and the ROK to collect information on the situation and closely cooperate with relevant agencies of the ROK in freeing the sailors.

According to the latest news, all sailors are in good health and safe.

AP: Please advise the visit schedule of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates? What is Vietnam’s expectation of the visit?


At the invitation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will visit Vietnam from April 21-22, 2006.

His schedule is being arranged. State President Tran Duc Luong and Prime Minister Phan Van Khai are expected to receive the delegation.

During his visit to Vietnam, the Microsoft Chairman will hold talks with the National Steering Committee on Information Technology. He will also have his meeting with Vietnamese students at the Polytechnic University's meeting hall covered by television and transmitted on line. The Chairman will address and exchange his views with the business community, leading partners of Microsoft, delivering a speech and exchange views on television and hold an online talks with the IT expert community. He will also visit Bac Ninh province to see how IT is being applied in rural areas.

For further information, please contact the Foreign Relations Department of the Ministry of Post and Telematics.

The Vietnamese Government always pays attention to IT development. Vietnam also boasts great potential in IT workers. We hope that the Microsoft Chairman’s visit will actively contribute to IT development in Vietnam and strengthening economic, trade and investment relations between Vietnam and the U.S./.

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