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Vietnam defense minister death rumors dismissed, govt says in stable condition after surgery

Vietnam's Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh. Photo credit: Lao Dong Vietnam's Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh. Photo credit: Lao Dong

Minister of Defence Phung Quang Thanh is in stable condition after being treated in France and will return home soon, a senior Vietnamese military official has said, rejecting rumors of the minister’s death.
Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, Deputy Chief of the Army General Staff, was quoted by Lao Dong newspaper as saying: “I communicated with [people] abroad yesterday. The Minister will return in the next few days.”
He should have returned two weeks ago, but his trip was delayed because doctors said he should wait for a month after surgery before travelling by pressurized aircraft, he added.
Some social network sites on Monday reported that Thanh had died on July 19 in France. Some quoted German news agency DPA as saying he died at the Georges Pompidou Hospital after a month’s treatment for a lung disease, Lao Dong reported.
Pham Gia Khai, a member of the Board for Protection and Care of the Health of Central-Level Officials, told Lao Dong he was aware of the information.
Thanh had not contacted him recently, but he had received information that his health has improved, he said.
Khai’s agency had announced earlier that Thanh went to France for treatment for a lung disease and underwent a surgery.
Tests for cancer proved negative, but he showed “worrying” signs of lung fibrosis and severe cough, the board had said.