N.Korea FM in Vietnam to study implementation of economic reforms
North Korea’s foreign minister kicked off an official visit to Vietnam Friday as the nation seeks to learn lessons from the one-party state’s post-war economic reform that has transformed the nation into one of Asia’s fastest growing economies.
Ri Yong-ho is expected to meet with leaders in Hanoi and visit a hi-tech zone and speak to agricultural experts, according to state media and diplomatic sources.
North Korea, with an economy long crippled by wideranging sanctions is seeking to learn from Vietnam’s “doi moi” economic reforms introduced in the 1980s, according to Seoul’s official Yonhap News Agency.
Vietnam’s economy has flourished as it has embraced market reforms, opened its doors to foreign investment and free trade deals, with GDP growth hitting 5 percent or higher for the past decade.
“North Korea is using this period of not testing (its nuclear weapons) to recover its external relations to appear as a respectable member of the international community,” Carl Thayer, emeritus politics professor at the University of New South Wales in Canberra, told AFP.
Ri has visited Iran, Russia, China, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan this year.
It is an approach encouraged by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who went on a trip to Vietnam in July.
“Your country can replicate this path. It’s yours if you’ll seize the moment. The miracle could be yours; it can be your miracle in North Korea as well,” he said in comments aimed at Kim Jong-un.
Vietnam and North Korea established diplomatic relations in 1950.