Da Nang tells officials to cancel overseas trips and focus on APEC Summit

By Nguyen Dong   September 30, 2017 | 11:02 pm PT
Da Nang tells officials to cancel overseas trips and focus on APEC Summit
Da Nang is set to welcome leaders from the U.S., China, and Russia this November. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
The central city is rushing to prepare for its biggest international meeting with a corruption scandal hanging over its leaders.

Da Nang has instructed government officials to cancel all overseas trips they have planned for the coming weeks to focus on preparations for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit next month.

Any overseas visits or study trips must be delayed until after November 15, but some exceptions will be made for trips that were approved before October and those deemed “really necessary”, the city’s government said.

Da Nang, considered the third most important city in Vietnam after Hanoi and Saigon, is preparing for a gathering of leaders from the 21 member economies of APEC on November 11 and 12. It will be the biggest international meeting ever hosted by the city, with the attendance of U.S. President Donald Trump, China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, among others.

The new order also imposes restrictions on all future overseas trips.

It said each delegation should include no more than 10 officials and each trip should be limited to three countries, each for a maximum of three days.

Officials will also be limited to two official overseas trips per year.

Trips organized or sponsored by businesses must be strictly restricted, the city’s government said.

The order comes at a time when the city’s management is under scrutiny.

Its Party chief Nguyen Xuan Anh and chairman Huynh Duc Tho were implicated two weeks ago for misconduct, mismanagement and dishonesty.

Tho received an official warning from the Communist Party on Friday for land management violations, including illegal and unauthorized decisions regarding land allocated for business use.

Vietnam’s Party has four modes of punishment for misconduct by official members: reprimand, warning, demotion and expulsion. For Tho, the warning means his political career is unlikely to be going anywhere fast in the near future, while a dismissal is also a probable scenario.

The Party has yet to announce its punishment for Anh, who is accused of flouting democratic centralism principles by making many decisions singlehandedly, accepting a car and two houses as gifts from businesses and using unaccredited university degrees.

The case follows a number of management scandals in recent months, including the fall of Saigon's Party chief Dinh La Thang in May for mismanagement while he was at the helm of state fuel giant PetroVietnam several years ago. It also comes just as 200 senior Communist Party members are slated to convene for a major meeting in Hanoi this month.

Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong said in July that the fight against corruption is no longer being handled slowly or on a case-by case basis. "It has become a movement," he said.

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