Date: Fri, 3 Oct 97 08:50:47 CDT
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Vietnam's New Premier Urges Reform
/** headlines: 180.0 **/z
** Topic: Vietnam's New Premier Urges Reform **
** Written 8:33 AM Oct 2, 1997 by newsdesk in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 10:43 PM Oct 1, 1997 by in */

Vietnam's New Premier Urges Reform

Associated Press. 26 September, 1997

Vietnam's New Premier Urges Reform HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- A day after taking office, Vietnam's new prime minister said his role is to push economic reform forward while abiding by the guiding hand of the Communist Party.

In a speech published Friday in state-controlled newspapers, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai said reform must come with stability and equity for all Vietnamese.

A technocrat and celebrated economic reformer, Khai, 63, takes the government's top job under the shadow of his dominant predecessor, Vo Van Kiet. Kiet, although retired from government, remains a powerful adviser on policy issues through his seat on the Communist Party Politburo.

In an interview with the Saigon Times Daily, Kiet issued a veiled warning to the Communist Party's conservative factions not to stand in the way of the new government's reform policy.

Reform "is a constant process,'' Kiet said. "Those who are content with the current reforms are making a serious mistake.''

Despite outward unity, the party faces deep divisions concerning the direction of reform and privatization.

Corruption, heavy reliance on state subsidies and preferential treatment for state-owned companies continue to plague the economy.

Although Vietnam has dramatically reduced the number of state-run companies to 6,000, the state sector continues to dominate industry and enjoys benefits denied to private firms.

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