In Paris on Monday (19 December) talks aimed at normalising relations between the United States and Vietnam resumed at the Vietnamese Embassy.
In Paris on Monday (19 December) talks aimed at normalising relations between the United States and Vietnam resumed at the Vietnamese Embassy. They're the first since the United States lifted its veto on Vietnam's admission to the United Nations in September.
SYNOPSIS: This year American and Vietnamese delegates have met twice at Hanoi's Paris embassy. On those occasions the main item on the agenda was accounting for some thousands of Americans still missing in the Vietnam war. But the present talks will concentrate on trade and diplomatic links.
Outside as the talks began, demonstrators launched a noisy protest only to be bundled off by police for identity checks. The demonstrators, refugees from South Vietnam, were calling for the respect of human rights in their former home country. They claimed that Vietnam today is a totalitarian dictatorship.
Inside under Ho Chi Minh's portrait, the delegates seemed unruffled by the protests, but their talks are not likely to be problem free. Observers say that a major stumbling block will be Hanoi's demand for war reparations of over three billion dollars.
The Vietnamese claim the money was promised by former US President Richard Nixon. But the Americans say this implies responsibility for the Vietnam war.