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Vietnam: ‘Serious Lessons’ Learned From Fish Kills

FILE - Vietnamese protesters hold a banner reading 'We love the sea, fish and shrimp. Formosa get out' during a rally denouncing recent mass fish deaths in Vietnam's central province, in Hanoi, Vietnam, 01 May 2016.
Vietnam: ‘Serious Lessons’ Learned From Fish Kills
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Vietnam’s Prime Minister says his country has learned “serious lessons” from mass fish kills in four coastal provinces.

Large numbers of dead fish and other sea creatures were discovered along the coast in April. The environmental disaster led to nationwide protests.

The Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Corporation admitted a month ago to causing the fish kills.

Nguyen Xuan Phuc spoke to the Vietnamese parliament after being re-elected prime minister on Tuesday.

He said, “The incident [caused by] Formosa serves as a serious lesson about getting and managing foreign investment projects. It must not recur.” He adds that “we must review large projects as well as closely monitor their environmental commitments.”

One month ago, the company “took full responsibility” for causing millions of fish deaths. Its steel factory in the Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh released wastewater filled with poisonous chemicals.

He also noted a need for environmental protection measures, saying, “We must not develop at the destruction of (the) environment.”

Nguyen Dinh Ha is a former independent candidate for parliament. He said he welcomed the Prime Minister’s statements but also demanded action. He said, “Vietnamese are used to many promises. We now want to see action. Those [Vietnamese] who acted irresponsibly in the case need to be dealt with on legal terms. Many people must be held accountable.”

He also urged the newly elected parliamentarians to include the Formosa disaster among their debate issues.

Vo Kim Cu is a member of the National Assembly Economic Committee. He has been criticized for “opening the door” for Formosa Plastic to begin operations in Ha Tinh province when he was its party chief.

In his speech, the Vietnamese Prime Minister promised to defend Vietnam’s territorial rights over the South China Sea. He also urged all sides with territorial claims in the waterway to respect and obey international laws.

I’m Anna Matteo.

VOANews reported this story with help from the VOA Vietnamese service. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

lesson – n. a single class or part of a training program

managev. to take care of and make decisions about

recurv. to happen or appear again

monitorv. to watch, observe, listen to, or check (something) for a special purpose over a period of time

commitmentn. a promise to do or give something

accountable – required to be responsible for something