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In new role, Kerry back in Vietnam's Mekong Delta

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Posted: Dec 15, 2013 1:36 AM

Updated: Dec 15, 2013 1:36 AM

NAM CAN, Vietnam (AP) Nearly 50 years ago, John Kerry patrolled Vietnam's rivers on a U.S. naval gunboat. He's back today as secretary of state, promoting sustainable aquaculture, trade and human rights.

Kerry took a boat trip again today and spoke of protecting the future for the water-dependent economy of the millions who live in the Mekong Delta. That future is threatened by rising sea levels and planned upstream construction of dams in China and Thailand.

Kerry says no country should be able to exploit the river at the expense of the others.

In talks scheduled Monday with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi, Kerry is expected to make the case that respect for human rights, particularly freedom of speech and religion, is essential to improved relations with the United States.

The chief focus of the discussions, however, is expected to be maritime security and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Topics: United States-Kerry-Vietnam

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