Commentary: As the US and Vietnam have normalized diplomatic relation since 1995, the trade between the two countries has grown exponentially. The total bilateral trade may have reached $24.5 billion in 2012, with Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. about $ 19.8 billion, and imports from the U.S. about $ 4.8 billion. With a trade deficit of $15 billion from the US side, it is in the best interest for Vietnam to continue developing a good trading relation with the US.
It is forecast that the Viet Nam-US trade turnover is expected to reach US$50 billion in 2020, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (AmCham). The trade relationship is a good leverage for Americans to make a stand on their founding principles such as human rights issues, when the Vietnamese government continues to sending patriots and bloggers to longterm jail sentences.
It is more primordial that Vietnamese Americans and Vietnamese American elected officials to use “stick and carrot” policy in dealing with Vietnamese officials by both engaging with the Vietnamese government and demanding the strict respect of basic human rights for Vietnamese citizens. As Vietnamese communists are in the process of amending their constitution, they continue to keep the Party’s leadership role in the affairs of the State and Society and introduce a new clause demanding allegiance of Vietnam’s People Armed Forces to the Party. This new clause reminds of the allegiance oath that German Wehrmacht had to make to Hitler.
What would make a holocaust survivor feel or be to collaborate with a former Gestapo or SS? It is the same for most Vietnamese Americans and overseas Vietnamese, who are the survivors of the communists’ terror and we are lucky enough to have adoptive homelands to allow us to thrive. It is the right thing that Mayor Pro Tem of Fountain Valley, Michael Vo objects to the official visit of a Vietnamese delegation.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions and political stands; however, Vietnamese American elected officials have a duty and should act with their conscience to defend the human rights being denied to the Vietnamese citizens before collaborating with Communist Vietnam on trade issues.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Vo objects to an invitation to business and government officials from the city’s Chamber of Commerce and warns of possible unrest.
A Fountain Valley councilman is leading the charge to block a delegation of business and government officials from Vietnam, saying it will unleash a storm of protesters in the increasingly immigrant city.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Vo said an official visit from a country “without human rights and respect for freedom will not be accepted by the Vietnamese community, many who live here.”
Vo said it would be fiscally irresponsible to pay for police services for a likely protest, which he predicted could draw hundreds.
“I cannot be silent and let this happen under my watch,” added Vo, the first Vietnamese American member of Fountain Valley’s City Council.
In a letter to council colleagues and directors of the city Chamber of Commerce, he wrote: “I will not stand by to have any foreign government take advantage of our businesses and of our Chamber of Commerce, disrupt the peace and the tranquillity … and drain this community of its financial and human resources.”
At the invitation for the chamber, the delegation is set to visit the city in March.
Mayor Mark McCurdy said he’d just learned of Vo’s concerns and is yet unsure whether he supports the effort to block the delegation.
Chamber officials plan to open their office to host a reception for the guests, City Manager Ray Kromer said in an in-house memo to the council. “We understand that the plan so far is to keep this relatively low-key. We need to assess how the community will react.”
Mary Parsons, president and CEO of Fountain Valley’s chamber, said the visit is not confirmed, adding that she and the board’s executive committee plan to meet soon on the matter.
Ken Duong, an attorney and chairman of the chamber’s board, declined to comment. Vo targeted Duong in his note, saying that he owns “a law firm which is focused on international business & immigration and that generating global network is important.”
When a theater troupe from Vietnam visited Fountain Valley in September, nearly 300 demonstrators swarmed the Saigon Performing Arts Center, vocally attacking the visitors from Ho Chi Minh City. It cost the city $8,000 in police services to control the crowd, Vo said.
He also cited the demonstration outside Hitek TV & VCR in neighboring Westminster in 1999, when more than 15,000 people united against a Little Saigon merchant displaying the Communist flag and a picture of Ho Chi Minh at his video store. City officials there paid almost $200,000 for overtime police, among other expenses, during 53 days of protest.
In recent months, officials in Westminster and Garden Grove have passed legislation requiring advance notice of visits from communist delegations so police have time to prepare. Vo said he plans to introduce a similar ordinance in Fountain Valley. The heavily Vietnamese community known as Little Saigon reaches into all three cities, as well as Santa Ana.
Source LA Times