North Korean foreign minister to visit Vietnam this week

By Khanh Lynh   November 27, 2018 | 01:29 am PT
North Korean foreign minister to visit Vietnam this week
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho addresses the 73rd United Nations General Assembly on September 29, 2018, at the United Nations in New York. Photo by AFP/File
Top North Korean diplomat Ri Yong-ho will start a four-day visit to Vietnam this Thursday.

The visit is being made at the invitation of Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

Vietnam and North Korea established diplomatic relations in early 1950.

Le Hoai Trung, Vietnam’s deputy foreign minister, had said in September that Vietnam highly values its relations with North Korea and wants to develop it further, contributing to peace, stability and development in the region and the world.

After years of self-imposed isolation and sanctions for development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, North Korea has this year been trying to strengthen its foreign contacts.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has spoken recently of his hopes for economic reforms in the country.

In three meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in this year, Kim repeatedly cited Vietnam’s successes, South Korean media reported.

Yonhap said Ri has told the Vietnamese government that North Korea hopes to learn from Vietnam’s model of development.

Observers have said Vietnam’s socialist market economy could be an example for North Korea. Duong Chinh Thuc, former Vietnam ambassador to North Korea and South Korea, said the historical and political resemblance between the two countries would make Vietnam an "appropriate" example for Kim Jong Un.

During a visit to Hanoi last July, Washington's top diplomat Mike Pompeo also used Vietnam, which now enjoys burgeoning trade ties with former foe U.S., as a model for North Korea. If only North Korea were to surrender its nuclear arsenal, he suggested, it too could grow rich like its fellow one party state Vietnam.

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