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Vietnam's top diplomat to visit N. Korea ahead of Trump-Kim summit

08:35 February 12, 2019

SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- Vietnam's top diplomat will travel to Pyongyang on Tuesday, according to his ministry, amid speculation that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be set for a state visit to the Southeast Asian country late this month.

Kim is scheduled to meet again with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi on Feb. 27-28.

Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, who doubles as deputy prime minister, will visit the North through Thursday at the invitation of his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho, the ministry's spokeswoman, Le Thi Thu Hang, wrote Monday on Twitter without giving further details.

There's a possibility that Kim will pay a state visit to Vietnam just before or after his meeting with Trump that's expected to focus on fleshing out Pyongyang's additional denuclearization steps and Washington's corresponding measures in return.

If Kim does so, he will be the first North Korean leader to visit the country in 54 years. Kim Il-sung, the country's late founder and grandfather of the current leader, visited Hanoi in October 1964.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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