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Vietnam pledges to release 3 dissidents after meeting with U.S. congressman

Vietnam pledges to release 3 dissidents after meeting with U.S. congressman

A lawmaker who has been pressing Vietnam for human rights improvements said Wednesday that a senior Vietnamese official had pledged to release three dissidents this month.
Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who resigned recently as chairman of the U.S.-Vietnam Caucus in Congress to protest rights abuses by Hanoi, met Tuesday in Washington with Vice Foreign Minister Le Van Bang, according to Blumenauer's spokeswoman, Erin Allweiss.
Bang agreed to release the dissidents before a June 22 visit of Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet to Washington on, Allweiss said. Bang did not specify names of the dissidents Vietnam intended to release, but Blumenauer's office was trying to obtain that information.
Triet's visit has been expected since U.S. President George W. Bush visited Vietnam for a regional meeting last November. He would be the first Vietnamese head of state to visit Washington since the Vietnam War ended in 1975. Then-Prime Minister Phan Van Khai visited Washington two years ago.
The Bush administration and members of Congress have been pressing Vietnam to end a crackdown on pro-Democracy dissidents. Bush met last month with Vietnamese-American activists who are pressing Vietnam to allow independent political parties, and Washington has expressed dismay over recent arrests of dissidents. The crackdown began shortly after Bush's visit to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City late last year.
On the day that he Blumenauer resigned in protest last month, he introduced a resolution in the House condemning the arrests.
But even as the U.S. has criticized Vietnam, the relationship between the two nations has grown closer in recent years. They implemented a wide-ranging trade agreement in 2001, and since then two-way trade has been booming.


Updated : 2021-10-26 11:06 GMT+08:00