Photo: The Duong
(CPV) - On the occasion of the 51st anniversary of the Agent Orange (AO) catastrophe in Vietnam (1961-2012) and the Day for Vietnamese AO/dioxin Victims, a program named “Join Hands in Appeasing AO/dioxin Pain” is co-organized by the Vietnam Association of Victims for Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) and the Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper, Mr. Len Aldis, Secretary General of the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society and Mr. Lee Jong Hyun, director of MBC Nanum Media Company, the Republic of Korea, had a talk with reporters.
Reporter: Dear Mr. Len Aldis, as a person who has made active contributions to encouraging the public and world to support the struggle for Vietnamese AO victims’ justice, could you share your feelings on the 51st anniversary of the AO catastrophe in Vietnam (1961-2012) and the Day for Vietnamese AO/dioxin Victims?
Mr. Len Aldis: “Anger” is always around me I come to Vietnam because 51 years ago, a crime was committed that so far has gone unpunished. Let us not hesitate to lay the blame at the doorstep of those responsible for this crime that today, fifty years later, is still killing the people in Vietnam and leaving hundreds of thousands with severe disabilities.
This is also my 35th visit to your country and each time I always visit many AO victims. I have met parents and grandparents who are caring for their children and grandchildren. One of the questions raised with me by the parents of the victims is “what will happen to my children when I am no longer here?” What should I say? The question is not easy to answer. That is why I say “anger” because it resulted in the deaths of thousands of babies.
Reporter: According to you, what should the US government and its chemical companies do to solve the chemical’s effects in Vietnam?
Mr. Len Aldis: I am just a guest in this country, so I could not tell the Government what to do to solve this problem. If I were Vietnamese, I would ask the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to explain why companies who bear responsibility for this crime now have offices in Ho Chi Minh City.
I have asked my government to close the Monsanto and Dow Chemical offices in the UK, but in HCM City, the offices of Monsanto and Dow are just 5 minutes from Hoa Binh village to Tu Du hospital. I have invited the director of Monsanto and Dow Chemical to come with me to see the children, to see what effects AO causes on the innocent children of Vietnam, but they refused. What crimes have the children committed that Monsanto and Dow refuse to see them?
The American government, Monsanto and Dow Chemical must bear responsibility for the AO victims and their companies and compensate the victims and their families.
Reporter: As one of the three biggest media companies in Korea, what has the MBC done to promote the Vietnam and Korea relationship in general and for the AO victims of both countries, Mr. Lee Jong Hyun?
Mr. Lee Jong Hyun: This is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Vietnam. To commemorate this event, we invited 83 Vietnamese AO victims to Korea for the visit and medical treatment and to enhance the relationship between Vietnam and Korea, I think it is very important for Vietnamese AO victims and Korean AO victims.
In addition, under our company’s sponsorship, among the AO victims who travelled to Korea recently, three Vietnamese victims received surgery, five received stem cell treatment and two had artificial legs.
As an individual, I think each of us is responsible to help people in need and as a Korean, I think I have a debt to pay for Vietnamese people, because we took part in the Vietnam war. Finally, as a citizen, I think AO is a crime and it should not happen again.
Reporter: What will MBC Nanum Media Company do to support AO victims in Vietnam in the coming time?
Mr. Lee Jong Hyun: On the 51st anniversary of the AO catastrophe in Vietnam (1961-2012) and the day for AO victims (August 10), in the coming November, we are planning to hold a country trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City by bicycle and on that trip, victims of AO from both countries will be accompanied by many volunteers. The purpose of this trip is get the attention of the world and to make everyone in the world join hands in appeasing AO/dioxin pains.
Reporter: Thank you very much for your interview!