HANOI, Vietnam -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday began a two-day official visit to Vietnam, the first to the country by a leader from the regime in 55 years.
The last visit was made in 1964 by the late Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather and the founding leader of North Korea.
On Friday, Kim Jong-un began his official schedule with the Vietnamese government. The North Korean leader is set to meet President Nguyen Phu Trong, who is also general-secretary of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party, on Friday. He will then attend a state banquet.
Kim is set to leave Hanoi on Saturday via train through China. Kim arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday after a 66-hour train journey from Pyongyang.
According to South Korean news reports, there is speculation that Kim may meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on his way back to Pyongyang.
Kim’s official visit to Vietnam follows his two-day summit with US President Donald Trump. The much-anticipated summit was cut short unexpectedly, with the two leaders canceling a working lunch, and a joint agreement-signing ceremony.
According to Trump, the changes came about due to North Korea’s demands that all sanctions be lifted in return for limited denuclearization measures.
The North, however, has refuted the claims, saying it had only demanded an end to sanctions that are affecting the living conditions of its people.
A high-level official with the US Department of State later elaborated that the North had excluded sanctions concerning weapons from the list.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com