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Once sailor, forever sailor

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Westminster doesn't welcome Vietnam officials

Article Tab: Vietnamese leaders present a flag and scarves with pre-war Vietnamese colors to the Westminster mayor and City Council Wednesday night.
Vietnamese leaders present a flag and scarves with pre-war Vietnamese colors to the Westminster mayor and City Council Wednesday night.
THANH PHONG, SAIGON NHO DAILY NEWS


By ROXANA KOPETMAN / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER WESTMINSTER – On the same night the city swore in its first elected Vietnamese American mayor, the City Council renewed its opposition to visits from communist Vietnam.
The council unanimously re-established a resolution first adopted in 2004 that does not welcome "stops, drive-bys or visits" by representatives or officials of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Article Tab: Vietnamese leaders present a flag and scarves with pre-war Vietnamese colors to the Westminster mayor and City Council Wednesday night.

Here's the gist of the resolution: Don't come to town. Don't stop by the Little Saigon business district. Don't visit the Westminster Vietnam Veterans War Memorial.
These visits provoke the city's large Vietnamese American population and create a financial burden on the police department, which has to monitor protests, the resolution states.
In 1999, the city spent more than $750,000 for local and neighboring police to monitor a 53-day protest against a Little Saigon business that displayed the flag of communist-occupied Vietnam.
The policy asks the State Department to advise the city 10 business days in advance of any visits by Vietnamese officials and trade delegations.
Garden Grove recently approved a comparable resolution. And in Santa Ana, the City Council directed its staff in November to draft a similar policy.
The consul general of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in San Francisco said recently that such resolutions have no impact on Vietnamese delegations and are not enforceable. The two countries resumed diplomatic relations in 1995 and visits are coordinated with the State Department, not local agencies, said Consul General Hung Ba Nguyen.
The original Westminster resolution expired in 2009.
This one has no such sunset clause.
It will be in place, said newly installed Mayor Tri Ta, "until Vietnam is completely free."
Contact the writer: 714-796-7829 or rkopetman@ocregister.com


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