Hanoi family treasures surprise visit by Kim II-sung, Uncle Ho

By Thuy Trang   February 25, 2019 | 02:21 pm GMT+7

Former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung and President Ho Chi Minh just walked into a house in 1964.

North Korean leader Kim Il Sung (first row, left) and President Ho Chi Minh visited Vietnam – North Korea Friendship Cooperative in Xuan La, Tay Ho District, Hanoi in November 1964. Photo courtesy by dangcongsan.vn

North Korean leader Kim Il-sung (first row, left) and President Ho Chi Minh visit the Vietnam – North Korea Friendship Cooperative in Xuan La, Tay Ho District, Hanoi in November 1964. Photo courtesy by dangcongsan.vn

On November 23, 1964, when Nguyen Van Hai's family was having lunch, his father brought a group of guests home without warning - President Ho Chi Minh, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung and their entourage.

The small, humble home was suddenly filled with the laughter of the national leaders and family members, Hai recalled, 55 years later. He was seven years old then, he told VnExpress.

In the spacious living room inside a grand house that was once was a small property in Tay Ho District that welcomed Kim and Uncle Ho, a large picture made of stone has been adapted from the photograph shown above.

Kim Il-sung and Uncle Ho visited the Vietnam – North Korea Friendship Cooperative that day. Hai’s father, Nguyen Van Vuong, wore a dark suit borrowed from the army stationed in the commune. He can be seen standing next to Uncle Ho on the right. Vuong, party secretary of the cooperative, passed away in 2003.

Pointing at his little grandchild running around the house during the interview, Hai said: "I also was running around like him in excitement when I found out that Uncle Ho and Kim Il-sung were in my house."

During the brief visit, the family was given a bottle of North Korean wine by Kim Il-sung and a portrait of President Ho Chi Minh in silk as presents. The photo was preserved for many years, but succumbed to the wear and tear of time, and the wine bottle got lost when the family was building a new home.

That year, Kim Il-sung was visiting Vietnam for the second time. The first time was in 1958 in Hanoi. It was eight years after North Korea became the third country to establish relations with Vietnam, following China and the Soviet Union.

Nguyen Van Hai looks up at the stone picture that emulates the original picture of his father Nguyen Van Vuong welcoming Kim Il Sung and President of Ho Chi Minh in his family’s living room.

Nguyen Van Hai looks up at the stone picture copied from the original photograph of his father Nguyen Van Vuong welcoming Kim Il-sung and President Ho Chi Minh into his house.

"That day, no one in the commune knew that President Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il-sung were visiting," said Nguyen Van Ngu, 77. Kim Il-sung visited the rice fields, kindergartens and preschools in the commune. People gathered in the common commune yard to listen to Kim’s speech, stating his commitment to support Vietnam.

During the Vietnam War, North Korea sent hundreds of fighter pilots to train and fight in Vietnam. In addition to aid, North Korea also helped train hundreds of Vietnamese students.

"In response to North Korean’s camaraderie, the people of the commune gave a large bunch of bananas and a large bunch of coconuts to leader Kim Il-sung as a gift," said Ngu.

Today, Kim Il-sung’s grandson, Kim Jong-un is on his way to Hanoi to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump and to pay an official visit to Vietnam.

Hai said he was delighted that Vietnam-North Korea relations have flourished, despite the ups and downs.

"Personally, I hope to be able to build a statue of Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il-sung in the communal yard, where they once stood to talk to the people here 55 years ago," said Ngu.

 
 
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