NATIONAL

N.K. officials visit tourist spot, manufacturing facility in Vietnam

By Yonhap
  • Published : Feb 27, 2019 - 18:58
  • Updated : Feb 27, 2019 - 19:48

HANOI/SEOUL, (Yonhap) -- A team of North Korean officials visited a popular tourist destination and a car manufacturing facility in Vietnam on Wednesday amid speculation that their leader, Kim Jong-un, may try to study ways to emulate Hanoi's "Doi Moi" reforms during his ongoing trip there.

The 20-member delegation visited Ha Long Bay, a picturesque tourist destination located east of Hanoi, and Hai Phong, a major port and industrial city in northeastern Vietnam, according to VnExpress, a local online news outlet.

Police officers stand guard outside Metropole Hotel where US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are scheduled to have dinner in Hanoi, Vietnam, Wednesday. The second summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim will take place in Hanoi on Wednesday and Thursday. (AP)

In Hai Phong, 110 kilometers from Hanoi, the officials visited a factory of VinFast, the nation's first high-volume automotive manufacturer. The city is home to a number of high-tech businesses run by Vingroup, a Vietnamese conglomerate.

The delegation included Ri Su-yong, who is in charge of international affairs at the Workers' Party of Korea and O Su-yong, known to be in charge of the ruling party's economic affairs.

Kim arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday for a summit with US President Donald Trump set for Wednesday and Thursday. After the summit, Kim is scheduled to stay in the country until Saturday for an "official goodwill visit."

Since the announcement of the summit location, whether and what leader Kim will learn about Vietnam's reforms have been considered a point to watch for during his trip to Vietnam.

Under the Doi Moi economic reform policy initiated in 1986, Vietnam opened its economy to capitalism while remaining communist politically.

North Korea's main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, ran a story Wednesday on how Vietnam developed its economy, touting its huge growth potential.

"Today, Vietnam's ruling party and the government are ... striving for economic reform along with strengthening the socialist regime. Vietnam has huge potential for economic development," the article said.

Trump also cited Vietnam as an example for North Korea to follow on its path to economic development.

"Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize," Trump tweeted in his first public message about Pyongyang since arriving in Hanoi a day earlier.