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|Thursday, January 18, 2001, updated at 16:01(GMT+8)|
Vietnam Cancels US Admiral's VisitIn a setback for U.S.-Vietnamese ties, Hanoi has called off a visit by a top U.S. military commander, saying its military leadership is too busy to see him, officials said Tuesday.
A Ministry of Defense official said they notified the U.S. Embassy on Saturday that the planned visit on Monday by U.S. Admiral Dennis Blair would be postponed indefinitely.
Blair, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, had hoped to discuss improved military ties with Vietnam during his visit. The sudden cancellation cast a shadow over hopes for improved relations between the countries that followed a visit by President Clinton in November ¡ª the first by an American president since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
The defense official said military leaders were unavailable because of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, next week and preparations for a Communist Party Congress following that.
Defense Minister Pham Van Tra and other top defense officials are members of the Communist Party's Central Committee, which is currently holding a 10-day plenum to prepare for the upcoming congress.
The U.S. Embassy confirmed that the visit by Blair, based in Hawaii, had been canceled.
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