North Korean PM to visit Cambodia in November

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PHNOM PENH, Oct 16 (Reuters) Cambodia said today that North Korean Prime Minister Kim Yong Il would pay an official visit at the start of next month, cementing Pyongyang's relationship with a rare friend in southeast Asia. During his November 1 to November 4 trip, Kim will meet Prime Minister Hun Sen and former king Norodom Sihanouk, who formed a close personal relationship with North Korean founding father Kim Il-sung at the height of the Cold War.

Sihanouk, whose playboy reputation and royal credentials did not appear to clash with Kim's austere and rigidly communist outlook, still has a palace in Pyongyang and his personal bodyguards are all North Korean agents.

A Cambodian government statement gave few other details of Kim Yong Il's visit.

Vietnam said earlier this month he would visit Hanoi, but did not say when or why. In March, Hanoi hosted talks aimed at normalising relations between communist North Korea and Japan.

Reuters GL GC1723

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