Kim Jong-un wants North Korea-Vietnam ties taken to new heights

By Anh Ngoc, Anh Minh   March 1, 2019 | 11:14 pm PT
Kim Jong-un wants North Korea-Vietnam ties taken to new heights
President Nguyen Phu Trong (L) introduces Chairman Kim Jong-un to senior Vietnamese officials at a welcome ceremony in Hanoi, March 1, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
North Korea and Vietnam should build on their traditional friendly relations and take bilateral ties to new heights, Kim Jong-un says.

In talks held with Vietnamese leaders during his first official visit to Vietnam, North Korean Chairman Kim affirmed his desire to step up bilateral cooperation in all fields.

Kim, who left Vietnam Saturday, met with senior Party and State officials during his visit, including Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

In his meeting with PM Phuc, Kim said Pyongyang wanted to continue developing the traditional friendly relations that the two countries have enjoyed towards taking bilateral ties to new heights, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement released Saturday.

"Through active party-to-party and country-to-country contacts, we should normalize cooperation and exchanges in all areas ranging from economy, science and technology, defense, sports, culture, arts and publication and news media and upgrade relations to a new level," Kim was quoted as saying by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

He said it was the "unwavering position of our country and our party" to strengthen the friendly, cooperative relations between the two countries and parties inherited through generations, "based on blood," referring to North Korean pilots having sacrificed their lives fighting in the Vietnam War.

During his meetings with Vietnamese leaders, Kim said he was impressed with Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements over the past years and hoped that the two countries would increase exchanges and cooperation, enhancing the long-standing friendship established by Kim Il-sung, founding father of North Korea, and Vietnam's President Ho Chi Minh.

Party leader and State President Trong said Kim’s visit was an important milestone in the history of the two countries.

Kim officially invited Trong to visit North Korea at a convenient time.

Kim’s visit was the first by a North Korean leader to Vietnam in 55 years since Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, visited in 1964. In 1950 North Korea became one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam, after China and the Soviet Union.

Kim Jong-un arrived in Vietnam Tuesday morning after traveling for more than 60 hours in an armored train from Pyongyang.

He met with U.S. President Donald Trump for the next two days, but the second summit between the two leaders ended without a deal, following disagreements over lifting of the sanctions imposed on North Korea.

People in Dong Dang town, Lang Son Province, bid farewell to Chairman Kim.

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