Kim Jong-un begins historic Vietnam state visit

Hanoi: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday began his two-day historic state visit to Vietnam following his second summit with US President Donald Trump.

On the first visit by a North Korean leader to Vietnam in 55 years, Kim was greeted by Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong in the gardens of the Presidential Palace, reports Efe news.

Kim had a private meeting with Trong, who is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Kim will also meet Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly President Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on Friday before attending a dinner gala.

A delegation of high-ranking North Korean officials visited several Vietnamese facilities this week, including the Vinfast car factory, belonging to the largest conglomerate in Vietnam, which at the end of the year plans to bring its first models to the market.

Kim, who arrived in Vietnam by train on Tuesday, will end his trip on Saturday with a visit to the mausoleum of the Vietnamese national hero Ho Chi Minh, whom his grandfather Kim Il-Sung had met in Hanoi in 1964 marking the last official visit by a North Korean leader to Vietnam.

He will then undertake a car journey of 170 km from Hanoi to the station in Dang Dong – bordering China – and board a heavily protected train to travel 4,500 km over two and a half days to reach North Korea.

The summit between Trump and Kim was suddenly cut short on Thursday with the two sides giving conflicting reasons.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that North Korea had demanded the lifting of all sanctions and that there was no clarity regarding the scope of its proposal to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear plant.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said that his government had only asked for a partial lifting of sanctions during the Hanoi summit.