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Friday, 17 November, 2000, 15:51 GMT
Vietnam looks beyond war
Hillary and Chelsea Clinton
America's first family goes Vietnamese
Vietnam's state media have presented US President Bill Clinton's visit as a triumph for the country's sovereignty.

Statements carried by state radio and press wished the US president a successful trip and made little reference to the war.

"We heartily welcome and wish President William Jefferson Clinton and his wife's official visit to Vietnam a fine success," the radio said, echoing the words of party daily Nhan Dan.

At the start of a new millennium, Mr Clinton's visit met "the interests and aspirations of the peoples of the two countries," it said.


Both Vietnam and the US have come a long way

Vietnamese radio

The new ties with the US were the direct result of Vietnam's policy of "independence, self-determination, diversification, multi-lateralisation and readiness to befriend all countries in the international community", state radio said.

Relations with Washington had been built on "mutual respect for independence and sovereignty, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit".

For good measure, Nhan Dan reminded readers that the US was a "large country in North America" while state TV hinted to viewers that Vietnam was much the more senior partner in the new relationship.

Vietnam's Van Mieu University, a stop on the Clintons' tour, was built in 1070 while "the most well-known US university, Harvard, is just over 300 years old", the TV remarked.

An unfortunate chapter

The only references to the war years in the media were couched in diplomatic language.

"No-one can deny that Vietnam and the US had an unfortunate chapter in the past," the radio said.

"That is history and no-one can change it.

"Vietnam advocates continued co-operation and strengthening of mutual understanding and Vietnam-US relations. This is also the way to solve the aftermath of the past in order to look to the future."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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