NORTH KOREA has sought the help of Vietnam to advance its development as it looks to bolster its crippled economy.
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the Southeast Asian country was “ready to share” his country’s nation-building experience socio-economic development with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is formally known.
According to Viet Nam News, Pham Binh Minh said this during talks with North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho during the latter’s four-day visit to Hanoi which began on Friday.
“The Party, Government and people of Vietnam attach importance to the traditional ties with the DPRK and are willing to work with the country to promote exchanges and cooperation in all fields in conformity with each country’s potential and interests, international law and responsibility, for the sake of maintaining peace and development in the region”.
Pham Binh Minh also congratulated North Korea over the progress made over the past 70 years, and pledged to consolidate diplomatic ties between the two nations.
The Vietnamese deputy prime minister also praised Pyongyang for its progress in the Korean Peninsula, which was in line with Vietnam’s consistent stance of advocating peace, stability and co-operation on the peninsula.
This, he said, would hopefully move swiftly towards addressing the denuclearisation of the peninsula.
After decades of self-imposed isolation and wide-ranging sanctions, North Korea is seeking to learn from Vietnam’s “doi moi” economic reforms introduced in the 1980s, Seoul’s official Yonhap News Agency reported.
According to the AFP, the Southeast Asian country’s economy has flourished as it has embraced market reforms, opened its doors to foreign investment and embraced free trade deals, with GDP growth hitting five percent or higher for the past decade.
However, Vietnam’s liberal approach to economics was in stark contrast to its single-party state and little tolerance for dissent, which experts believe could appeal to Pyongyang.
Vietnam expert Carl Thayer said Pyongyang may be leveraging on the historic denuclearisation deal struck with Washington and Seoul that came after the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.
“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,” said Thayer, emeritus politics professor at the University of New South Wales in Canberra.
Earlier, the North Korean foreign minister visited Iran, Russia, China, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan this year.
North Korea’s approach has been encouraged by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remarked on the “once-unimaginable prosperity and partnership” between former war foes Hanoi and Washington during a visit 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.