Kim Yong Nam Visits 3 ASEAN Nations To Strengthen Traditional Ties

A highest DPRK delegation led by President Kim Yong Nam of the Supreme People’s Assembly visited Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia between July 11 and 20, during which summit meetings were held and bilateral joint communiques issued respectively. The joint communiques reconfirmed the traditional bilateral relations of friendship and cooperation between the DPRK and the three Southeast Asian nations forged by the preceding leaders and agreed to further develop mutual solidarity and cooperation in all fields, both domestic and international, in conformity with the requirements of the new century. The leaders of the three members of the ASEAN also fully supported and welcomed the historic inter-Korean summit held in Pyongyang last year and the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration and highly estimated the efforts made by the Korean people for its implementation.

Kim Yong Nam was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Kwan Gun, Minister of Culture Kang Nung Su, Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Pak Kil Yon, and other suit members.

The delegation’s visits came when a meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is slated for late July in Vietnam and Pyongyang-Washington relations have been strained as George W. Bush came in office six months ago.


Vietnam (July 11-14)


The highest-ever level delegation of the DPRK picked Vietnam as the first country to visit among the three nations — a rising nation in Southeast Asia that has long been a close ally of north Korea and fought together against the U.S. during the Vietnam War.


President Kim Yong Nam of the DPRK SPA (left) talks with Nong Duc Manh, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam.


During his stay in Vietnam Kim Yong Nam held talks with Vietnamese leaders including President Tran Duc Luong; Nong Duc Manh, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam; and Nguyen Van An, Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam. On the sidelines inter-sector talks also took place between the two sides.

President Tran Duc Luong at the talks with his counterpart Kim Yong Nam highly estimated the achievements the Korean people have made in the revolution and construction under the leadership of Kim Jong Il, braving the trials and difficulties, and expressed firm solidarity with their cause.

Expressing heartfelt thanks to the Workers’ Party of Korea and the DPRK government for their full support and encouragement to the Vietnamese people in the struggle for national liberation, the reunification of the country and socialist construction, he pointed to the necessity for both sides to inherit the excellent tradition of supporting and assisting each other in the new century, too.

Kim Yong Nam stressed the need for the two countries to closely support and cooperate with each other to ensure peace and security in Asia and the rest of the world. He also clarified the invariable stance of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the DPRK government to further consolidate and develop in the new century the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries provided by their preceding leaders.

Both sides agreed to hold intergovernmental talks so as to provide a legal basis for expanded bilateral exchange and cooperation in politics, the economy, culture and other fields and maintain regular contacts in the future.

A highlight in what the two nations agreed upon in the international affairs concerned U.S. unilateralism, its missile defense program in particular. The joint communique said: “The two sides agreed to contribute to building a new world based on independence, sovereignty, mutual respect, impartiality and equality for the peace, stability and development of humankind, expressed apprehensions over the dangerous moves which may spark a new arms race threatening world peace and security and made a strong objection to pressure or interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.”

Both sides stressed the importance of the ASEAN in keeping the regional peace and stability. The Korean side appraised Vietnamese efforts in this regard.  

On July 12, Kim Yong Nam visited the monument to heroic martyrs and the mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi and “the tomb of fallen fighters of the Korean People’s Army” in Bac Giang Province and laid wreaths there.


Laos (July 14-17)


Kim Yong Nam visited Laos from July 14 to 17 at the invitation of Khamtay Siphandone, President of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. During the visit Kim Yong Nam had talks with Khanmtay Siphandone and received Prime Minister Boungnang Vorachit; and met Samane Vignaketh, Chairman of the National Assembly.


The DPRK delegation (right), led by Kim Yong Nam, have talks with senior officials of Laos including President Khamtay Siphandone.


At the talks with President Kahamtay Siphandone, Kim Yong Nam said that the ties between the two countries are the fraternal friendly and cooperative relations based on the close friendship forged by Kim Il Sung and Kaysone Phomvihane, and expressed the DPRK’s firm will to further strengthen and develop the bilateral ties in the new century in the interests of the two peoples aspiring after socialism.

Khamtay Siphandone highly estimated the new victory the DPRK has won, invariably holding aloft the banner of socialism under the guidance of Kim Jong Il, and supported and welcomed the inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang and the efforts made by the Korean people for its implementation.

Both sides agreed to strengthen support and cooperation in such international arenas as the UN, the non-aligned movement, the ARF and others.


Cambodia (July 17-20)


Kim Yong Nam paid an official goodwill visit to Cambodia to wrap up the three-nation tour in this region of Asia between July 17 and 20 upon the invitation of King Norodom Sihanouk.


Kim Yong Nam talks with Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia.


At the airport, Kim, together with Sihanouk, reviewed a guard of honor of the three services of the Cambodian royal army; Kim and his party were welcomed by some 100,000 people along the tens of kilometers-long route to the guest house in the capital.

During his stay in the country, Kim Yong Nam had talks with Norodom Sihanouk, Chea Sim, President of Cambodia. An old close friend of Kim Il Sung’s, the Cambodian King, describing Kim Jong Il as a sagacious leader of the Korean people who is comparable to Kim Il Sung, expressed his highest respect to him and his full support for the Korean people’s cause for the independent reunification of the country.

He also stressed his firm will to strengthen forever the friendly relations between the two countries with a long historical tradition.




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