Senior N.Korea leader to visit Vietnam, Laos

North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-Nam is to visit Laos and Vietnam, Pyongyang's official news agency said on Monday.

Kim "will soon pay official goodwill visits" to the two countries, the agency said in a brief report which gave no dates.

Analysts quoted by South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the North may seek to strengthen diplomatic ties and expand economic cooperation with the two fellow socialist nations.

A Lao government economic delegation headed home Friday from Pyongyang, while a foreign affairs delegation from Vietnam visited the city earlier this month.

Kim, North Korea's parliamentary chief, acts as ceremonial head of state because late leader Kim Il-Sung has been declared the "eternal president". He visited Singapore and Indonesia in May.

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