N.Korean delegation visiting Vietnam to seek stronger relations

A North Korean delegation is visiting Vietnam in an apparent bid to strengthen ties between the two countries.

The delegation is led by Kim Song Nam, the director of the international department of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party.

NHK saw Kim arrive at a hotel in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on Monday. Kim and others earlier visited China. North Korea had said they will also tour Vietnam and Laos, but details of their itinerary were unknown.

Local media say Kim met on Monday with Le Hoai Trung, who chairs the Vietnamese Communist Party's Commission for External Relations.

Earlier this year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in his annual diplomatic policy speech that the country should strengthen relations with friendly nations.

Vietnam is one of the countries. In 2019, it hosted a summit between Kim and then-US President Donald Trump.

This is also the first time North Korea has sent a delegation to Southeast Asia after the coronavirus pandemic subsided.

Vietnam also places importance on cooperation with Japan, the United States and South Korea.

Last year, the US and Japan separately agreed to upgrade their bilateral diplomatic relations with Vietnam. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol also paid a state visit to Hanoi last year.