WORLD : Policy on Viet Refugees Tightened

<i> From Times wire services </i>

The Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations announced today that Vietnamese refugees arriving in their countries will no longer automatically qualify for resettlement.

In other words, those who cannot prove they are fleeing political persecution will be returned to Vietnam. A Foreign Ministry statement said the new policy will take effect Tuesday “and will be applied region-wide.” Since Vietnam “boat people” began fleeing their country a decade ago, all the ASEAN countries--Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines--have accepted any Vietnamese who arrived as a refugee.

Refugees were given temporary asylum and put into camps to await resettlement by the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other Western nations.