Vietnam Denies It Granted Limited Visa To US Congresswoman

The Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Le Dung said on April 10 that Vietnam has never issued a "limited entry visa" for US Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.

He said that Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee Ton Nu Thi Ninh had extended an invitation to member of the US House of Representatives Lorreta Sanchez for a visit to Vietnam in order to promote mutual understanding and bilateral relations.

However, the timing for the visit at the request of Congresswoman Sanchez coincided with a scheduled visit by a US Congress delegation led by US House Speaker Dennis Hastert. With a tight timetable related to the US Congressional delegation, the Vietnamese National Assembly proposed Representative Sanchez delay her visit till after April of this year, Dung explained.

As Representative Sanchez still wants to visit Vietnam at that point and at the request of House Speaker Hastert, we are willing to issue an entry visa to Congresswoman Sanchez as a member of House Speaker Hastert's delegation, the spokesman confirmed.

NA official: no refusal of visa for Sanchez's visit

Vice Chair of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee Mme Ton Nu Thi Ninh reiterated no denial of an entry visa into Vietnam to US Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.

In a statement on April 10 in response to comments published by international media on Sanchez's planned visit to Vietnam, Mme Ninh provided the following clarification:

"When we were informed of Ms. Sanchez's request for a separate visit from April 10 to 16, I wrote her a personal letter requesting that she postpone her visit till after the Party Congress and saying that 'we are willing to facilitate your visit at any time convenient to you after the Party Congress'. It cannot be stated therefore that her request to visit was turned down. Any foreign official's visit requires mutual accommodation and agreement by both sides involved, this is normal international practice.

"When the National Assembly of Vietnam received Speaker Dennis Hastert's letter stating that he invited Congresswoman L. Sanchez to join his delegation in Vietnam, we instructed our Embassy in Washington D.C to grant Ms. L. Sanchez a visa with exactly the same facilitation as for other members of the Speaker's delegation to visit Vietnam from April 14 to 17. Ms. L. Sanchez's office was formally notified of this on April 6.

"On April 7 the Embassy of Vietnam in Washington D. C received a letter from Congresswoman L. Sanchez expressing regret that her proposed dates of April 12 to 17 were unsuitable and the 'hope that, at some point in the future, we will find mutually agreeable dates for me to visit' Vietnam." (VNA)

Source: Vietnam News Agency