Vietnam's ruling Communist Party emphasised the successes of the 20-year-old doi moi (renewal) policy at the opening of a five-yearly congress, virtually ignoring the corruption scandal in the Transport Ministry. Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh told delegates in his opening address 'the path leading to socialism is becoming clearer', and credited Vietnam's economic growth to the party's socio-economic reforms. 'The achievements prove that the doi moi policy of our party is correct, creative and appropriate for Vietnam,' Mr Manh said. But for all the expected action on corruption after the Transport Ministry's Project Management Unit 18 misused tens of millions of dollars in state funds, Mr Manh did not directly mention the scandal that drew repeated questions from the state-controlled media at a pre-congress press conference last week. Of the 52 pages in the congress' accompanying report, just a few paragraphs mention corruption. Instead, he included Vietnam's corruption woes among the 'self-criticisms'. 'The degradation in terms of political ideology, moral quality, lifestyle, opportunism, individualism and bureaucracy, corruption and wastefulness by cadres and civil servants is serious,' Mr Manh said. He said the party was determined to build a 'clean and strong leadership and management, to overcome a huge risk that threatens the survival of our system'. Corruption at the Transport Ministry has already forced the minister, Dao Dinh Binh, to resign after money destined for road construction, mostly contributed by foreign donors, was squandered in bribes and bets on English and Spanish soccer matches. Mr Manh's wide-ranging speech, which also emphasised the need for a 'correct awareness' of Marxism-Leninism and the teachings of Ho Chi Minh, kicked off an eight-day congress at which major leadership changes are expected. Observers said there were few, if any, significant policy changes signalled in Mr Manh's address. The party chief said Vietnam would continue its programme of free-market reforms and international integration, with the goal of becoming a modern, industrialised country by 2020.