North Korea foreign minister visits Vietnam as part of Southeast Asian tour

North Korea's foreign minister held talks in Vietnam on Wednesday in a visit to a fellow communist country as part of efforts to break the North's diplomatic isolation.

Ri Su Yong arrived Tuesday night from Laos for a four-day visit before traveling to Myanmar for an ASEAN Regional Forum meeting, which will also be attended by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers from Japan, South Korea and China on Sunday. He then visits Indonesia and Singapore.

Ri held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh where they stressed on the traditional friendship between communist countries. Ri will also meet President Truong Tan Sang and other high-ranking officials.

"My visit to Vietnam this time is to develop the existing friendship between our two countries," Ri told Minh at the start of their talks. "Our relationship is a comradely and fraternal one and unlike other countries it has an age-old history."

Unlike Vietnam, which launched reforms in the mid-1980s opening up to foreign trade and investment, North Korea remains one of the world's most isolated countries over its nuclear weapon program.

Vietnam, the world's second-largest rice exporter, often gives North Korea rice as food aid to help it overcome food shortages.