BUSH PROMISES TO IMPROVE VIETNAM TIES

* In a letter delivered yesterday to Vietnamese President Le Duc Anh, President Bush wrote that Washington would take action to improve relations with Hanoi, Sen. John Kerry said at the end of a three-day visit.

Senator Kerry told reporters the promise by Mr. Bush was in response to a big increase in Vietnamese cooperation in recent months to help resolve the fate of US servicemen missing from the Vietnam War.

"The president expressed very directly that the cooperation from Vietnam will be met by reciprocal actions by the United States," Kerry said. He did not say whether Washington might ease or lift the trade embargo it imposed in 1964 or move toward opening diplomatic relations with Vietnam.

Rumors in the US that prisoners are still being held in Indochina have helped block improved relations between Hanoi and Washington. Kerry said there was no evidence to back such rumors.

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