North Korea’s Foreign Minister visits Vietnam, Southeast Asia

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North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong (L) shakes hands with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh as they meet in Hanoi on August 6, 2014. Photo: AFP North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong (L) shakes hands with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh as they meet in Hanoi on August 6, 2014. Photo: AFP

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The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong is in Vietnam for a four-day visit starting Tuesday to foster relations between the two countries.
The visiting FM met Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi on Wednesday, the Vietnam News Agency reported.. Ri arrived upon Minh’s invitation.
Welcoming his Korean counterpart, Foreign Minister Minh affirmed that Vietnam treasures and wants to foster its cooperation and friendship with the DPRK, hailing the continuous maintenance of visits by the two countries’ officials as a way to raise mutual understanding.
He stated that Minister Ri Su-yong’s visit is significant when it came at a time when both countries are preparing to mark the 65th anniversary of their diplomatic ties (January 31).
For his part, Foreign Minister Ri asserted that the long-standing traditional friendship founded and fostered by late Presidents Kim Il Sung and Ho Chi Minh is a valuable asset of the two nations and needs to be maintained and further promoted.
The DPRK wants the two foreign ministries to do their part in fostering Vietnam – DPRK coordination, and jointly work on regional and global issues.
The two foreign ministers also exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula and the East Sea issues among regional and international matters of mutual concern.
Ri is scheduled to visit Indonesia, Singapore, Laos and Myanmar, according to North Korean Central News Agency, which did not reveal details of the itinerary and the scale of his delegation.
But Yonhap News Agency said he is expected to join the ASEAN Regional Forum held in Myanmar this weekend.
His South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se, Japan’s Fumio Kishida and the US’s John Kerry are also scheduled to attend the forum.
Yonhap cited a Seoul Foreign Ministry official as saying “Ri’s trip appears to aim at strengthening relationships with the Southeast Asian countries in a move to come out of international isolation and gather ground in the global diplomatic arena.” The official asked to remain anonymous.
Ri might engage in bilateral talks with Yun in order for DPRK to participate in the upcoming Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, the newspaper reported, citing “watchers.” But other sources said the chance was low after Pyongyang’s recent rocket and missile launches undermined the border ties.

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