HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, June 15 (UPI) -- Vietnam Sunday mourned the death of former Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet, architect of the country's economic opening to the West.
Kiet, 85, was prime minister of Vietnam from 1991 to 1997, when he led the nation through an economic reorientation known as Doi Moi, an event that changed the country's economy at a time when Asian communist officials rarely criticized the system's failings, the BBC reported Sunday.
Kiet died last week and thousands of mourners lined the streets of Ho Chi Minh City for his funeral, the network said. He was praised at his funeral by communist party leader Nong Duc Manh as "an excellent leader of our party, state and people, a faithful revolutionary fighter who has devoted his whole life for national independence, socialism and people's happiness."
As prime minister, Kiet was the architect of a period of dramatic economic growth and foreign investment. In later years, he urged the government to move more quickly to privatize state ventures and to ban them from borrowing from government banks at cheap rates -- advice that was not heeded, The Wall Street Journal reported.