[sixties-l] Vietnam says US has moral duty over war aggression

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 10/25/00

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    Vietnam says US has moral duty over war aggression
    VIETNAM: October 25, 2000
    HANOI - Vietnam said yesterday it hoped a historic visit by President Bill 
    Clinton next month would improve ties with the United States but Washington 
    had a moral duty to deal with consequences of its "aggression" in the 
    Vietnam War.
    Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Phan Thuy Thanh said this included real help 
    in alleviating suffering caused by Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant U.S. 
    forces used in the War to deny communist guerrillas cover.
    Hanoi blames Agent Orange, which contained the carcinogen dioxin, for 
    causing physical and mental birth defects.
    "The sorrows and losses caused by the aggressive American war which have 
    been borne by the Vietnamese people are heavy and huge," Thanh said in a 
    "To solve the consequences left by the war, including those of Agent 
    Orange, is an urgent humanitarian issue. We think the United States should 
    carry out its spiritual and moral duty and make a real contribution to 
    solving war consequences."
    At the same time, Thanh said Hanoi welcomed Clinton's plan to visit and 
    hoped his trip would further promote ties.
    Clinton is expected in mid-November as the first U.S.  president to visit 
    Vietnam since the late Richard Nixon in 1969, at the height of the War.
    Thanh's comments were the latest from Hanoi criticising U.S. war actions, 
    particularly the use of Agent Orange, ahead of Clinton's visit.
    A Vietnamese general writing in an official newspaper yesterday blamed 
    Vietnam's economic backwardness on war brutality, including rape, the 
    killing of children, and Agent Orange.
    "Our economic position and power are weaker than many other 
    countries...that's because everything that developed countries gained today 
    is mixed with the blood and sweat of millions of labourers in colonies," 
    Gen Nguyen Nam Khanh wrote in the Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Army) newspaper.
    Diplomats believe Hanoi has been highlighting the Agent Orange issue to 
    deflect attention from its own human rights record during Clinton's visit.
    Last week, five U.S. senators, including Vietnam veterans John McCain and 
    Charles Robb, urged Clinton to press Hanoi for progress on rights, a call 
    Hanoi has slammed as interference in its internal affairs.
    Hanoi's attempts to win compensation from Washington over Agent Orange have 
    stalled even though U.S. veterans are now entitled to this more or less 
    Earlier this year, the United States proposed joint research with Vietnam 
    on the issue, but has also made it clear it does not intend to get involved 
    in any cleanup operations.

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