U.S. Assistant Secretary of State: Son Doong cave could "take human beings an instant to destroy"

By Lam Le   May 18, 2016 | 04:45 am PT
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State: Son Doong cave could "take human beings an instant to destroy"
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski (second from right) in Son Doong. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Tu
Tom Malinowski called for "preserving Son Doong cave in its natural state" on the official Facebook page of the U.S. Embassy today, after returning from a five-day trip to the world's largest natural cave with seven ambassadors.

"Around every corner, we encountered images that seemed to be taken from abstract art or the illustrations to a fantasy story, not like anything we ever expected to encounter in the real world," said the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

He also called on the public to preserve the cave from exploitation, saying what took nature millions of years to create could "take human beings an instant to destroy".

Malinowski considers sustainable tourism as a solution to both preserve and allow the world to behold this wonder of nature:

"The sustainable tourism currently allowed in Son Doong [...] has protected the cave and provided many jobs for local people. [...] People around the world are impressed by Vietnam’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty and come to the area to see everything that they can. I hope that my children and grandchildren will be able to see this great treasure of Vietnam just as I did.”

On November 4, 2014, Quang Binh People's Committee announced the plan to construct of a cable car to Son Doong. The project by Sun Group, which is also behind cable car projects in Nha Trang, Ba Na and Fansipan, has since spurred controversy among the public concerned about its potential environmental and ecological damages.

Last week, ambassadors and officials from the U.S., Australia, the UK, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Argentina spent five days exploring Son Doong, world's largest natural cave. Joining them on the expedition were Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau from the Foreign Ministry’s Culture and UNESCO Department, and Duong Truong Thien Ly, 2nd runner-up at Miss Universe Vietnam 2008.

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