North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Yong Nam Visits Vietnam and Laos

Kim Yong Nam (3rd L), President of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) Presidium shakes hands with a diplomat during his arrival at Pyongyang Airport on 11 August 2012. Kim was returning to the DPRK after a week of visits to Vietnam and Laos (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Yong Nam, President of the Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium and the DPRK’s titular head of state,  arrived back in Pyongyang on 11 August (Saturday) after a week-long  trip that took him to Vietnam and Laos.  Kim departed Pyongyang on 4 August (Saturday) for Vietnam.  Among those traveling with Kim were Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam, Minister of Extractive Industries Kim Min Chol and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kung Sok Ung.  DPRK state media reported on 5 August (Sunday) that Kim arrived in Hanoi where he was greeted by several Vietnamese government and party officials, as well as well as DPRK Ambassador to Vietnam Kim Chang Il.  According to Kyodo News, the trip “expected to focus on economic cooperation between the two countries.”

Kim Yong Nam and a DPRK delegation (right) meet with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and other senior Vietnamese officials in Hanoi on 6 August 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

On 6 August (Monday) Kim Yong Nam and the DPRK delegation met with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang.   KCNA reports:

The two sides exchanged views on the issues of consolidating and developing the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries and matters of mutual concerns.

The DPRK side referred to the unique leadership of the dear respected Kim Jong Un who has wisely led the party, the army and the people of the DPRK to construction of a thriving socialist country.

It also underlined the need to further develop the bilateral relations and steadily boost cooperation in regional and international arenas including the Non-Aligned Movement.

The Vietnamese side sincerely congratulated Kim Jong Un on holding the top posts of the party and the state, wishing the Korean people greater success in building a thriving socialist country under the leadership of the WPK.

The party, the government and the people of Vietnam will make efforts to develop the traditional friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries provided by President Ho Chi Minh and President Kim Il Sung.

The talks proceeded in a friendly atmosphere.

SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam meets with Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee in Hanoi on 6 August 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Later in the day on 6 August, Kim Yong Nam and the delegation met with Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee.  Nguyen “asked Kim to convey his heartfelt greetings to Kim Jong Un [and] said he was pleased with the successful celebrations of the centenary of birth of President Kim Il Sung, the Fourth Conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the Fifth Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly.”  According to KCNA, “the conversation took place in an amicable atmosphere.”  KCNA reports:

Kim conveyed greetings of the dear respected Kim Jong Un to Nguyen Phu Trong.

Nguyen Phu Trong expressed deep thanks for this and asked Kim to convey his heartfelt greetings to Kim Jong Un.

He said he was pleased with the successful celebrations of the centenary of birth of President Kim Il Sung, the Fourth Conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the Fifth Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly.

The Korean people are registering big achievements in building a thriving socialist nation under the wise leadership of Kim Jong Un, he noted.

He expressed deep thanks to the DPRK government and people for positively supporting the Vietnamese people in their struggle for national liberation and the reunification of the country. He expressed belief that the traditional relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries provided by President Ho Chi Minh and President Kim Il Sung would continue to boost.

Present there from the DPRK side were Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade, Kang Min Chol, minister of Mining Industry, Kung Sok Ung, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Kim Chang Il, DPRK ambassador to Vietnam, and from the Vietnamese side were the director of the General Office of the Presidency, Vu Dung, assistant to the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Hoang Binh Quan, chairman of the Commission for External Relations of the C.C., the Communist Party of Vietnam, Ho Xuan Son, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, and Le Quang Ba Vietnamese Ambassador to the DPRK.

Kim Yong Nam (L) meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (R) in Hanoi on Tuesday, 7 August 2012. According to KCNA Prime Minister Nguyen said “that the party, state and people of Vietnam are grateful to the party, state and people of the DPRK for positive support for Vietnamese struggle against the U.S. and for national salvation and always remember it.” (Photo: KCNA)

During the evening of 6 August, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang hosted a banquet for the DPRK delegation.  KCNA reports:

Present there on invitation were Kim Yong Nam, Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade, Kang Min Chol, minister of Mining Industry, Kung Sok Ung, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, and other suite members, Kim Chang Il, DPRK ambassador to Vietnam, and staff members of his embassy in Hanoi.

Present there were the director of the General Office of the Presidency, Minister of Industry and Commerce Vu Huy Hoang, Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Ho Xuan Son, Le Quang Ba, Vietnamese ambassador to the DPRK, and officials concerned.

Truong Tan Sang made a speech at the banquet.

He said that the traditional relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries provided by President Ho Chi Minh and President Kim Il Sung are developing on good terms.

The Vietnam-DPRK relations of friendship will grow stronger in mutual interests amidst the deep concern of the top leaders of the two countries, he said.

He reiterated warm felicitations to the grand political events of the Korean people this year.

He heartily wished the fraternal Korean people greater success under the guidance of the Workers’ Party of Korea headed by the dear respected Kim Jong Un.

Kim Yong Nam spoke next.

He said that he could witness the successes gained by the Vietnamese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam during his visit.

It is the fixed stand of the DPRK government to value and steadily boost the good relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries, he said.

He expressed the conviction that the current visit would be an occasion in boosting the bilateral relations of friendship and cooperation which has a long history, excellent tradition and great potentials.

There was a performance given by artistes.

Kim Yong Nam and a DPRK delegation present a wreath (L) at Ho Chi Minh’s tomb (R) on 7 August 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Yong Nam and a DPRK delegation present a wreath (L) at the Monument to Fallen Martyrs and Heroes (R) in Hanoi on 7 August 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Yong Nam departed for Laos on 7 August (Tuesday).  Prior to his departure he presented a wreath “before the monument to the fallen heroic martyrs,” according to KCNA.  It is not clear if this was at a memorial for the Vietnamese or if it was at a ceremonial grave for members of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] who died during the Vietnam War.  Kim went on to present another wreath at the grave of the late Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh.  KCNA reports:

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, on an official goodwill visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, laid a wreath before the grave of Ho Chi Minh on Tuesday.

Present at the wreath-laying ceremony were Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade, Kang Min Chol, minister of Mining Industry, Kung Sok Ung, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Kim Chang Il, DPRK ambassador to Vietnam, and other suite members, the director of the General Office of the Presidency of Vietnam, Le Quang Ba, Vietnamese ambassador to the DPRK, and other officials concerned.

After laying the wreath before the grave, Kim and his party observed a moment’s silence in memory of Ho.

Prior to this, they laid a wreath before the monument to the fallen heroic martyrs.

Vietnam donated 5,000 tons of rice to the DPRK as part of relief aid for the country’s recent floods.  According to Vietnamese News Agency [VNA], Vietnam’s state media outlet, Kim Yong Nam’s departure from the country “successfully conclud[ed] his official visit.”  VNA reports:

During his stay in Vietnam , President Kim Yong-nam held talks with President Truong Tan Sang and met with Party General Secretary Nguyen PhuTrong and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

He also paid tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum and laid wreaths at the Martyrs Monument in Hanoi

At the meetings, the two sides affirmed their wish to ceaselessly consolidate and develop the traditional friendship between Vietnam and the DPRK, meeting the aspirations and interests of their people, as well as contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region.

They agreed to continue maintaining visits by high-ranking leaders and exchange of delegations at all levels, and to boost economic cooperation in the principle of mutual benefits.

The leaders demonstrated their consensus on enhancing cooperation in agriculture, culture, arts, sports, education-training and people-to-people exchange.

Regarding regional and international issues, the leaders agreed to continue maintaining close coordination at international and regional forums such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Non-Aligned Movement, while strengthening the exchange of views on issues of common concern.

On the Korean Peninsula , Vietnam affirmed its consistent support for a peaceful, stable and nuclear-free Korean Peninsular.

Vietnam wants the concerned parties to make efforts to promote dialogue and take practical actions to boost the nuclear non-proliferation on the Korean Peninsula .

The country also supports dialogue, reconciliation, cooperation and peaceful reunification between the two Koreas, and does not back the use of force or threats to use force.

Regarding the East Sea issue, President Kim Yong-nam voiced his support for the settlement of disputes and emerging issues through peaceful dialogue in order to strengthen friendship among countries and ensure regional peace and stability.

With deep sympathies to the DPRK over serious human and poverty losses caused by recent natural disasters, on this occasion, the Party, State and people of Vietnam decided to provide 5,000 tonnes of rice for the DPRK people.

Kim Yong Nam (3rd L) receives a floral bouquet during a welcome ceremony for him and a DPRK delegation after their arrival in Vientiane, Laos, on 8 August 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Yong Nam arrived in Vientiane, Laos, on 7 August (Tuesday).  The DPRK delegation and he were received by Lao President Choummaly Sayasone and other senior officials with a function at the Lao Presidential Office on 8 August (Wednesday).  KCNA reports:

Present there were Kim Yong Nam, Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade, Kang Min Chol, minister of Mining Industry, Kung Sok Ung, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Han Pong Ho, DPRK ambassador to Laos, and other suite members.

Lao President Choummaly Sayasone, Vice Prime Minister Asang Laoly, Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulth, Standing Vice Prime Minister Somsavath Lengsavath, Minister and Secretary General of the Presidency Phongsavath Boupha, Minister of Industry and Commerce Nam Vignaket, the Minister of Power and Mining Industry, Minister of Science and Technology Boviengkham Vangdala , Lao Ambassador to the DPRK Kiettisak Keobanhdith and officials concerned were on hand.

Kim Yong Nam together with Choummaly Sayasone reviewed a guard of honor of the the Lao People’s Army.

SPA Presidium President and the DPRK’s formal head of state, Kim Yong Nam (R, 4th from top) meets with Lao President Choummaly Sayasone and senior Lao officials on 8 August 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Later on Wednesday, Kim and the delegation met with President Sayasone.  According to KCNA, “the talks proceeded in a friendly atmosphere.”  KCNA reports:

Talks between Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, and Lao President Choummaly Sayasone were held at the Presidency on Wednesday.

Present there from the DPRK side were Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade, Kang Min Chol, minister of Mining Industry, Kung Sok Ung, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Han Pong Ho, DPRK ambassador to Laos, and other suite members.

Present there from the Lao side were Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulth, Minister and Secretary General of the Presidency Phongsavath Boupha, Minister of Industry and Commerce Nam Vignaket, the minister of Power and Mining Industry, Minister of Science and Technology Boviengkham Vangdala, Kiettisak Keobanhdith, Lao ambassador to the DPRK, and officials concerned.

Kim Yong Nam referred to the fact that the dear respected Kim Jong Un is wisely leading the party, state, army and people to the building of a thriving socialist nation.

It is the steadfast stand of the DPRK government to develop the traditional relations of friendship with Laos, he said.

He underscored need for the two countries to boost the bilateral relations and cooperation in international arena including the Non-aligned Movement.

Choummaly Sayasone said that he could never forget the cordial hospitality leader Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un accorded to him during his visit to the DPRK.

He warmly congratulated the Korean people on successfully holding celebrations of the centenary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung.

He expressed the belief that the idea and cause of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il would become shining realities thanks to Kim Jong Un.

The talks proceeded in a friendly atmosphere.

Kim Yong Nam (L) meets Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong (R) in Vientiane, Laos, on 8 August 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Also, on 8 August, Kim met with Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammayong.  During their meeting Thammayong told Kim “that the friendly relations between Laos and DPRK are developing day by day thanks to Choummaly Sayasone and the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un.”  KCNA reports:

Present there from the Lao side were Sinlavong Khoutphaythoun, minister the Prime Minister’s Office and head of its Cabinet, Phongsavath Boupha, minister and secretary general of the Presidency, Sounthon Sayachak, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Kiettisak Keobanhdith, Lao ambassador to the DPRK, and officials concerned.

The prime minister of Laos said that the friendly relations between the two countries provided by President Kaysone Phomvihane and President Kim Il Sung have been steadily developed by Khamtay Siphandone and leader Kim Jong Il.

He noted that the friendly relations between Laos and DPRK are developing day by day thanks to Choummaly Sayasone and the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un.

He said that the Korean people are registering great successes in the struggle for protecting the gains of the revolution and defending the country under the wise leadership of Kim Jong Un.

While in Laos, the DPRK delegation completed several cooperation agreements with Lao senior government officials.  DPRK Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kung Sok Ung signed what KCNA identified as “Inter-governmental plan of cultural exchange for 2012-2015.”  DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam signed what KCNA identified as “Inter-governmental agreement on exchange and cooperation in the fields of information and technology.”  DPRK and Lao officials also completed an education exchange agreement, a sports exchange agreement and “an agreement on cooperation between chambers of commerce.”  KCNA reports:

Present at the signing ceremonies from the DPRK side were Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK, Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade, Kang Min Chol, minister of Mining Industry, Kung Sok Ung, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Han Pong Ho, DPRK ambassador to Laos, and other suite members and from the Lao side were President Choummaly Sayasone, Minister of Science and Technology Boviengkham Vangdala, a vice-minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, a vice-minister of Education and Sports and officials concerned.

The DPRK minister of Foreign Trade and the Lao minister of Science and Technology inked the “Inter-governmental agreement on exchange and cooperation in the fields of information and technology” and the DPRK vice-foreign minister and Lao vice-minister of Information, Culture and Tourism the “Inter-governmental plan of cultural exchange for 2012-2015.”

Also signed on the same day were “MOU on educational cooperation between the Education Commission of the DPRK and the Ministry of Education and Sports of Laos” and the “Agreement on cooperation between chambers of commerce.”

Kim Yong Nam (L) and a DPRK delegation visit a tower in Vientiane, Laos on 8 August 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Yong Nam leads a DPRK delegation (L) in a wreath presentation ceremony at the Monument to Unknown Soldiers (R) in Vientiane, Laos, on 8 August 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Also, on Wednesday, Kim and the DPRK delegation met with with Vice President of the National Assembly of Laos,  Somphan Phengkhammy, and Tong Yerthor, Chairman of the Lao-Korea Friendship Association.   Kim Yong Nam also visited an unnamed tower and presented a wreath at a tomb of unknown soldiers.  KCNA reports:

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, on an official goodwill visit to Laos, Wednesday laid a wreath before the Monument to Unknown Soldiers.

Present at the wreath-laying ceremony were Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade, Kang Min Chol, minister of Mining Industry, Kung Sok Ung, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Han Pong Ho, DPRK ambassador to Laos, and other suite members.

Minister and Secretary General of the Presidency Phongsavath Boupha and Lao Ambassador to the DPRK Kiettisak Keobanhdith and officials concerned were on hand.

Kim laid the wreath before the monument and paid silent tribute with his party.

On Wednesday evening, Lao senior government officials hosted a banquet for Kim and the delegation.  During the speeches, Lao President Choummaly Sayasone “referred to the fact that he was honored with the audience of leader Kim Jong Il and the dear respected Kim Jong Un during his visit to the DPRK.”  According to KCNA Kim Yong Nam said, “It is a firm stand of the party and the government of the DPRK to value and steadily develop the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries.” KCNA reports:

Lao President Choummaly Sayasone hosted a banquet on Wednesday in honor of Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, on an official goodwill visit to Laos.

Present there on invitation were Kim Yong Nam, Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade, Kang Min Chol, minister of Mining Industry, Kung Sok Ung, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, and other suite members, Han Pong Ho, DPRK ambassador to Laos, and staff members of his embassy in Vientiane.

Present there were Vice Prime Minister Asang Laoly, Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulth, Vice President of National Assembly Somphan Phengkhammy, Vice-Chairman of the Committee for External Affairs of the party and Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Sounthon Sayachak, Minister and Secretary General of the Presidency Phongsavath Boupha, Minister of Industry and Commerce Nam Vignaket, the minister of Power and Mining Industry, Minister of Science and Technology Boviengkham Vangdala, Lao Ambassador to the DPRK Kiettisak Keobanhdith, and officials concerned.

Choummaly Sayasone said in a speech at the banquet that the friendly relations between Laos and the DPRK personally provided by Kaysone Phomvihane and President Kim Il Sung are growing stronger thanks to the top leaders of the two countries.

He referred to the fact that he was honored with the audience of leader Kim Jong Il and the dear respected Kim Jong Un during his visit to the DPRK.

He extended warm congratulations to the fraternal Korean people who have made great achievements under the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea led by Kim Jong Un, supreme leader of the Korean people and Marshal of the DPRK.

Kim Yong Nam spoke next.

He said he was rejoiced over the achievements made by the Lao people in their efforts to defend the gains of the revolution, consolidate the people’s democratic system and bolster the overall national capabilities under the leadership of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.

He hoped that the Lao people would achieve greater victory in implementing the decision of the 9th congress of the party and in successfully carrying out the seventh five year plan of socio-economic development.

It is a firm stand of the party and the government of the DPRK to value and steadily develop the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries, he noted.

There was a performance given by artistes.

Kim Yo’ng-nam (L) talks with Lao President Choummaly Sayasone in Vientiane, Laos, on 10 August 2012. President Sayasone and a group of senior Lao officials visited Kim and the DPRK delegation at their guest house (Photo: KCNA)

Prior to his departure from Laos on 10 August (Friday), President Sayasone visited Kim and the DPRK delegation at their accommodation in Vientiane.  According to KCNA, “a conversation was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere.”  Kim also met Somsavath Lengsavath, the standing Vice Prime Minister of Laos on Friday.   KCNA reports:

Lao President Choummaly Sayasone Friday visited the lodging quarters of Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly.

He was accompanied by Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulth, Minister and Secretary General of the Presidency Phongsavath Boupha, Minister of Industry and Commerce Nam Vignaket, the minister of Power and Mining Industry, Lao Ambassador to the DPRK Kiettisak Keobanhdith, and officials concerned.

They were greeted by Kim Yong Nam, Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade, Kang Min Chol, minister of Mining Industry, Kung Sok Ung, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Han Pong Ho, DPRK ambassador to Laos, and other suite members.

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