HC Deb 07 March 1990 vol 168 c872
19. Mr. David Young

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with what countries he has had discussions (a) resettlement of the boat people and (b) resurrecting the economy of Vietnam.

Mr. Maude

I discussed the subject of Vietnamese boat people most recently with European Community and Association of South-East Asian Nations Ministers on 16 and 17 February and with the Vietnamese Government in Hanoi from 19 to 21 February. Arrangements to resettle over a three year period boat people who are refugees were agreed as part of the comprehensive plan of action adopted by the international conference on Indo-Chinese refugees last June in Geneva.

Mr. Young

Is not the real stumbling block to the economic regeneration of north Vietnam the American Government's refusal to allow economic regeneration to take place unless they can officially sanction the type of government which operates in Hanoi? In the name of humanity, can we ask the American Government to stop fighting the wars of the past and to help with the regeneration of that area, as that is the solution to the problem?

Mr. Maude

As I have already said, we have pointed out that reform is taking place in Vietnam so there is no longer quite the same regime as there was. I know that in Vietnam there is a good deal of interest in the resumption of aid from the West, but, as I have made clear, before that can take place we shall want to be satisfied that Vietnam is fully accepting its obligations under international law and particularly the obligation to accept its own people back.