Former Socialist Republic of Vietnam Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, credited with the economic recovery and modernization of a country devastated by a 19-year war prosecuted by the USA, has died at 84.
Born on December 25, 1933, in Ho Chi Minh City's suburban Cu Chi district, Khai became a political activist at 14 by joining a children's revolutionary movement against the French colonial regime.
Former Vietnamese prime minister Phan Van Khai in Bangkok, Thailand, in November 2005.
The government chaired by Khai left its working-term marks by the issuance of the Business Law, the annulment of hundreds of licences, the involvement in many tough talks to negotiate on Vietnam's admission to the World Trade Organization, and more.
While the former premier helped open the communist country's economy and launch it onto a world stage, his administration made no departure from Vietnam's repressive one-party rule at home, where independent media is banned and critics are routinely jailed.
From 1976-1984, Khai was Vice Chairman and then Chairman of the Planning Committee, Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, member of the city's Party Committee. He then moved to the central government, where he was appointed prime minister in 1997.
Phan Van Khai took the office of the Prime Minister from September 1997 to June 2006.
He was a National Assembly deputy of the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th tenures, and a member of the Politburo in the 7th, 8th and 9th tenures.