Clinton Discusses Human Rights With Vietnamese FM

Posted September 26th, 2011 at 7:20 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pressed Vietnam on human rights during a meeting with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

A senior U.S. State Department official said Clinton stressed the importance of an upcoming U.S.-Vietnam high-level dialogue on human rights when she met Monday with Minh on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Clinton particularly asked her Vietnamese counterpart to look into issues related to the treatment of religious figures and Christian churches in Vietnam.

The State Department said the two officials also discussed a range of issues including regional territorial disputes in the South China Sea, U.S. humanitarian support to fight AIDS in Vietnam, and collaboration between the countries in the areas of science and education.

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department said in its annual report on religious freedom that while Vietnam's constitution protects religious freedom, the government regulates and, in some cases, restricts religious practice.

Vietnam's government rejected the report, saying it was a biased assessment based on insufficient information.

The United States has regularly criticized human rights practices in Vietnam, even as it seeks to improve strategic cooperation with the Southeast Asian country.