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Vietnamese Premier Promises Gates He'll Fight Software Piracy

June 21, 2005|From Reuters

SEATTLE — Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai pledged to combat software piracy as he met with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on Monday, during the first visit to the United States by a top leader of the communist nation since the Vietnam War.

Khai signed two agreements committing Vietnam to work with Microsoft in curbing theft of intellectual property and removing licensing barriers for used computers donated to schools, Microsoft spokeswoman Tami Begasse said.

Khai's stop in Seattle is the first in a four-city tour. Today, he is to meet President Bush in Washington. Khai is expected to push to accelerate negotiations for Vietnam's membership in the World Trade Organization.

Khai, the first Vietnamese leader to visit the United States since the end of the war three decades ago, will also travel to Boston and New York as part of a trip to boost commercial and diplomatic ties.

Despite growing commercial ties, differences remain between the nations, especially over U.S. criticism of Vietnam's record on human rights and religious freedom, and the American refusal to compensate Vietnamese victims of wartime chemical arms.

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