News services are reporting that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
pressured Vietnam's leaders to improve its human rights practices during her trip to the Southeast Asian nation, but two Orange County members of Congress view her actions with opposing conclusions.
(D-Anaheim) told The Orange County Register
's Washington, D.C. bureau that she was "thrilled" by Clinton raising the issue, but Ed Royce
(R-Fullerton) complained that the secretary of state's rebuke had been too brief and weak.
Sanchez and Royce both wrote Clinton letters before her trip in hopes that she would lobby Vietnamese communist rulers to relax alleged totalitarian practices against democracy, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Reuters noted that Pham Gia Khiem
, Vietnam's Foreign Minister, rebutted Clinton's suggestion that his country needs better human rights. He said "human rights shouldn't be imposed from the outside," according to the wire service.
In other matters, Clinton praised Vietnam's economic progress and promised to continue to work to cleanup cancer-causing Agent Orange, the toxic substance U.S. troops sprayed during the war that ended in 1975.
Vietnamese officials gave Clinton a wedding present--a white table cloth--for her daughter Chelsea as well as a painting depicting the mother and daughter during a 2000 trip they took to Hanoi.
--R. Scott Moxley /OC Weekly