Vietnam's foreign minister on Thursday concluded his three-day visit to Pyongyang ahead of a planned summit between the President of the United States and the North Korean leader to be hosted in Hanoi later this month.
Pham Binh Minh landed at the Beijing international airport onboard an Air Koryo flight from Pyongyang and was expected to get on a connecting flight to Hanoi from there, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
President Donald Trump said last week in his State of Union speech that he would hold his second meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un in the Vietnamese capital on Feb. 27 and 28.
During his visit to Pyongyang, Minh met with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho and with the head of international affairs of the Workers' Party Ri Su-Yong, the North Korean news agency KCNA said.
The officials who accompanied Minh included the Chief of State Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mai Phuoc Dung, and Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang.
The two sides discussed their approaches to regional and international issues of common interest and analyzed ways to broaden bilateral relations, KCNA reported, without specifying the content of the discussions or forwarding any details regarding Kim Jong-un's planned visit to Vietnam.
The North Korean regime is known to be extremely secretive and guarded about the security and itineraries of its leaders.
The foreign ministers of Vietnam and North Korea meeting came as Hanoi prepares for the historic second summit between Trump and Kim.
This summit is expected to help in moving forward the stagnated talks on denuclearization of the North Korean regime, which has barely shown progress since the first Kim-Trump summit held in Singapore in June last year.
Taking opportunity of this summit, Kim is expected to also make a state visit to Vietnam.
Despite the historical bilateral ties, this would be the first visit by North Korean leader to Vietnam since the reunification of the country in 1975, at the end of the war between the communist North Vietnam and the pro-west South Vietnam.
Vietnam, a Communist-run country and one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, has also held on to its capitalist inclinations with commitment to a progressive opening up of its economy - a model which could serve as an example for Pyongyang's future.