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White House responds to petition on mass fish deaths in Central Vietnam

By Vuong Anh   June 23, 2016 | 07:23 pm PT
The White House has given an official answer to the petition signed by over a hundred thousand people who have requested the U.S. government to assist Vietnam in finding out the cause of the recent mass fish deaths  along the country’s central coast.

Founded in 2011, the platform provides a clear threshold for action, namely a landmark of 100 thousand signatures, for the U.S. government to give an answer to issues raised by citizens.

As of June 24, there have been 142,753 signatures for the petition requesting the U.S. to help Vietnamese people to prevent the environmental disaster that started in Ha Tinh Province last April.

“We express our deep sympathy to the people of Vietnam's central coastal provinces as they work to overcome the recent loss of fish stocks and the effects on their livelihoods. As Vietnam addresses this environmental crisis, the U.S. Government stands ready to help,” the answer read.

The U.S president office encouraged Vietnamese government to increase cooperation with civil society and environmental NGOs, hoping such move will help communities affected by the fish crisis, ensure accountability and transparency in the clean-up effort, and help to design policies to prevent similar problems in the future.

The White House’s response reiterated that environmental cooperation is an important element of the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership. It also mentioned the launch the U.S.-Vietnam Climate Partnership during President Obama’s trip to Vietnam, which will help the two countries implement the Paris Agreement.

The U.S. government said they are supporting environmental conservation efforts of Vietnam and the protection of the country’s national treasures. They will also reinforce the shared commitments between Vietnam and the U.S. to the world’s marine life through "high environmental standards" set by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.

In early April, large quantities of fish washed up dead near the Vung Ang Economic Zone in Ha Tinh Province. The phenomenon spread south along the coast of the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Thua Thien Hue, resulting in more than a 100 tons of dead fish.

On June 2, the Vietnamese government announced that scientists have identified the cause of the environmental crisis. However, the final conclusion will be released later this month after further validation.

Related news: 

> Mass fish death cause identified, results yet to be announced

> U.S.-based reactionary group behind mass fish death rallies in Saigon: police

> Vietnam too slow to act on mass fish deaths: Government office

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