A senior communist party official from a troubled northern province in Vietnam said Thursday that serious unrest in the area had not been aimed at the Hanoi government.

"It was a struggle against internal corruption and negative phenomena, but not against the party, the State and the regime," said Vu Dinh Thanh, deputy secretary of the Thai Binh province party branch.Thanh described the situation in the province, 50 miles southeast of the Vietnam capital Hanoi, as "basically stabilized."

More than 300 local officials in the province had been punished and about 40 were being prosecuted, he said.

"These recent results have shored up confidence and increased the people's trust in the authorities . . . especially for the central government," Thanh said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday informed resident foreign journalists in Hanoi that they would be allowed access to Thai Binh province on a specially arranged visit. A ban had been in place since demonstrations began there early last year.

But officials remained tense and security personnel closely monitored the activities of reporters invited on the trip, which included visits to the provincial capital Thai Binh town and the commune of Quynh Hoa.

The trouble in the province began last March and April when people from rural communes began demonstrating against corrupt local officials.

Clashes soon turned ugly as discontent spread rapidly through the region and demonstrators attacked municipal buildings and police stations.

In Quynh Hoa, a commune of more than 7,000 people at the heart of the troubles, officials and police were taken hostage and held for days at a time.