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(2nd LD) N. Korean leader hopes for improvement in relations with Vietnam in all areas: KCNA

All Headlines 11:39 March 02, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS details, photo)

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has expressed hope for stepped-up cooperation and exchanges with Vietnam in all areas, and for improving bilateral relations to a new level, Pyongyang's official news agency said Saturday.

The Korean Central News Agency reported on Kim's official visit to Hanoi this week that started right after his fruitless nuclear summit talks with U.S. President Donald Trump.

"Through active party-to-party and country-to-country contacts, we should normalize cooperation and exchanges in all areas ranging from economy, science and technology, defense, sports, culture, arts and publication and news media and upgrade the relations to a new level," Kim was quoted as saying.

"It is the unwavering position of our country and our party to inherit through generations the friendly cooperative relations between the two countries and the two parties based on blood," Kim added.

North Korea's daily Rodong Sinmun carries photos of leader Kim Jong-un joining a banquet with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi on March 1, 2019. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

On Friday, Kim met with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong at the Presidential Palace of Vietnam in downtown Hanoi. He also held talks later with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Vietnamese National Assembly Speaker Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

Kim is the first North Korean leader in 55 years to make a visit to Vietnam. His late grandfather, Kim Il-sung, who founded North Korea, traveled to the country in 1958 and 1964.

The North's main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, also devoted much of its Saturday edition to coverage of Kim's meetings to Vietnam's top officials.

He is to leave Vietnam on Saturday after his two-day "official goodwill" visit.

His meetings with top Vietnamese officials came after Kim and Trump failed to produce a breakthrough during their high-stakes two-day summit from Wednesday in Hanoi.

Trump later said North Korea demanded the lifting of sanctions "in their entirety" which he could not accept. The North Koreans rebutted that, saying that Washington wanted more than the dismantlement of its key Yongbyon nuclear complex.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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