Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach is planning to meet with Secretary of State James A. Baker III in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, Reuter reported yesterday from Hanoi.
State Department officials here declined to confirm or deny the reported Friday meeting but they did say Baker and Thach are scheduled to attend a dinner Thursday evening hosted by Japan and Indonesia for Asian-Pacific foreign ministers. A meeting of Baker and Thach would be the highest level official dialogue between the United States and Vietnam since the Paris peace talks in 1973, two years before the Vietnam War ended.
The United States has no diplomatic relations with Hanoi, classifies it as an enemy and recently extended a trade ban on it.
But a number of steps toward normalization have occurred, especially since Washington announced July 18 that it would discuss the Cambodian conflict with Vietnamese officials in New York.
Assistant Secretary of State Richard Solomon met Thursday in New York with Vietnam's vice minister of foreign affairs, Le Mai, in what State called a "helpful meeting" that focused on Cambodia, the accounting for U.S. prisoners of war and missing in action and the connection between progress on the issues and normalization of relations.