About the Author
View more articles by Colin Zwirko
Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
A delegation of top North Korean officials in Vietnam for the second U.S.-DPRK summit this week visited the new factory complex of domestic automobile manufacturer VinFast on Wednesday, according to footage from various South Korean outlets on the scene.
Led by vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Ri Su Yong, the delegation entered the VinFast complex just after 1430 local time.
The group of top North Korean officials was accompanied to the island where the factory is located – just off the coast of port city Hai Phong – by Provincial Secretary of Quang Nin Province Nguyen Van Doc.
During the ferry ride earlier in the day, the provincial leader showed the North Korean delegation a video promoting regional economic development and the importance of public-private partnerships, according to video of the scene captured by South Korean outlet KBS.
Also joining Ri for the North Korean side on the ferry were Minister of the People’s Armed Forces No Kwang Chol, WPK Central Committee vice-chairmen O Su Yong and Kim Phyong Hae, and Samjiyon Orchestra leader Hyon Song Wol.
Notable in attendance as well was first vice-department director of the WPK Central Committee Kim Song Nam, who is seen as Sino-DPRK interlocutor, and was described as North Korea’s “éminence grise for China” back in 2012.
Top North Korean officials led by Ri Su Yong were shown a video by the local provincial leader of economic development in the area and the importance of public-private partnerships. The group later toured the new factory of domestic automaker VinFast pic.twitter.com/Ee2PVTuOZS
— Colin Zwirko (@ColinZwirko) February 27, 2019
Vietnamese Ambassador to the DPRK Le Ba Vinh was also in the provincial leader’s delegation.
The video shown to the North Korean officials displayed local infrastructure projects such as new bridge and road openings, new airport facilities, and a range of modern buildings, tourist sites, and other developments.
“Quang Nin [Province] is continuing to apply the creative model of public-private partnerships,” Korean subtitles on the screen read during a brief section captured by KBS cameras.
The local government is “mobilizing capital in the direction of security, disclosure, and transparency of the interests of the state, investors, and society, to proceed with investing in road, sea, and air transportation,” it added.
The video also specifically pointed to “large-scale” modern infrastructure projects recently opened by the Sun Group in the area, and showed images of a local theme park Sun World.
Once at the factory, Ri and his delegation were seen seated for a presentation from company leaders in a large conference room before being taken through the sprawling factory by electric carts.
VinFast, a subsidiary of one of the country’s largest conglomerates Vingroup, is a new car manufacturer focused on the domestic market, and only last year completed the new factory receiving the North Korean officials on Wednesday.
The company’s website describes a business model where cars and electric scooters are assembled requiring “relatively low-skilled labor” and mostly built from foreign-sourced parts.
Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is scheduled to meet President Donald Trump at 1830 local time to begin their second summit.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: VinFast