North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will arrive in Vietnam on Feb. 25 for a state visit ahead of his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump two days later, Reuters reported Saturday.
He is expected to visit economic and industrial complexes there in a bid to publicize his aspiration for reform and market opening.
During a private chat with President Moon Jae-in in the border truce village of Panmunjom last year, Kim reportedly expressed his desire to push for reforms styled on the model of Vietnam, an economic powerhouse that nonetheless remains in the iron grip of the Communist Party.
Kim will meets with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong before Phu leaves on a state visit to neighboring countries.
It will be the first state visit by a North Korean leader in 54 years. Regime founder Kim Il-sung visited Hanoi in 1958 and 1964.
On Saturday, Kim Chang-son, Kim Jong-un's de facto chief of staff, arrived in Hanoi and toured the industrial regions of Hai Phong and Bac Ninh on Sunday.
There is an LG plant in Hai Phong and a Samsung smartphone plant at the Yen Phong industrial park in Bac Ninh.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese government has recently cut down dozens of trees near the Vietnam National Convention Center, the potential venue for the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi, possibly for security reasons.
This aerial view shows the Vietnam National Convention Center, the potential venue for the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. /Yonhap
Kim Chang-son (second from left), North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's de facto chief of staff, leave a hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam on Sunday. /Yonhap