Overview of VN – DPRK diplomatic relations

Viet Nam and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) established diplomatic ties on January 31, 1950, making the DPRK the 3rd country to set up diplomatic ties with Viet Nam after Russia and China.

Delegation exchanges

Since then, the two countries have exchanged more than 50 delegations from ministerial to higher levels, in which Vietnamese delegations to DPRK include President Ho Chi Minh (July 8-12, 1957), Prime Minister Pham Van Dong (June 1961), President of the State Council Vo Chi Cong (September 1988), Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Manh Cam (May 1997), Minister of Foreign Affairs (August 2000), Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh (October 16-18, 2007), Minister of Public Security Le Hong Anh (October 2008), Head of the CPVCC Commission for External Affairs Hoang Binh Quan (October 2011), Member of the CPVCC Secretariat and Head of the CPVCC Office Tran Quoc Vuong (July 2013), Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Huynh Ngoc Son (July 2015), Minister of Trade and Industry Vu Huy Hoang (September 2015).

Key cooperation mechanisms

The two countries established Intergovernmental Committee for economic, scientific and technological cooperation in August 2000.

The two sides also signed five memorandums of understanding (MoU) on co-operation in mineral mining and technical exchanges in the field.

Signed agreements

The two countries have signed a number of cooperative deals: Agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders (October 1,1956), Agreement on cultural cooperation (November 1957), Agreement on scientific and technological cooperation (October 1958), Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation (1961), Agreement on trade and maritime cooperation (December 1962), Agreement on mutual healthcare assistance (December 1966), Agreement on civil aviation transport (January 1997), Agreement on maritime transport (June 2002), Agreement on trade (May 2002), Agreement on mutual legal assistance (May 2002), Agreement on investment encouragement and protection (May 2002), Agreement on double taxation avoidance (May 2002). 

Trade, investment, aid

Trade: Viet Nam’s exports to the DPRK reached more than US$ 16 million in 2010; US$10 million in 2011; US$15 million in 2012; US$12.4 million in 2013.

The two-way trade was estimated at US$ 8 million in 2014; US$11.6  million in 2015.

Viet Nam’s export values to the DPRK stood at US$2.99  million in 2016 and US$7.322 million in 2017 (mainly food and confectionary).

Investment: In mid-1993, the two countries jointly inaugurated the first phase of a silk factory in Hai Duong province and the DPRK sold the factory to Viet Nam in 2011.

Aid: Viet Nam granted 100 tons of rice in 1995 and 13,000 tons of rice in 1997 to the DPRK. Between 2000-2012, the Southeast Asian country offered 22,700 tons of rice, 5 tons of rubber, and US$ 50,000.

Cultural-education cooperation

In 1960s and 1970s, the DPRK helped educate hundreds of Vietnamese students. Both sides are working to accelerate the signing of an agreement on education cooperation. Since 2013, the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has sent art delegations to attend the DPRK’s Spring Friendship Art Festival in Pyongyang./.


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