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Vietnam donates rice to flood-stricken North Korea

North Korean President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Nam, left, shakes hand with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang at the presidential palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. North Korean President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Nam, left, shakes hand with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang at the presidential palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Na Son Nguyen)
August 6, 2012
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HANOI, Vietnam—Vietnam's president said his country would donate 5,000 tons of rice to flood-stricken North Korea, Vietnamese state media reported Tuesday.

The pledge was made by President Truong Tan Sang in a meeting with North Korea's visiting nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam in Hanoi on Monday, the Communist Party newspaper Nhan Dan reported.

Flooding in North Korea has killed 169 people since late June, while leaving 400 missing and around 212,000 homeless.

The paper quoted Sang as expressing his "deep sympathy" for the deaths and loss of property caused by the flooding. Kim said the rice donation would help his people overcome their difficulties.

The two leaders also vowed to constantly develop the "traditional friendship" and further promote economic cooperation, particularly in agriculture, between the two countries, the report said.

Vietnam in the mid-1980s opened up its economy to foreign investment and trade. It has since moved from being a rice importer to become the world's second-biggest rice exporter.

Kim, who arrived on Sunday, also met with Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong on Monday.

He was expected to meet with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Tuesday before going to Laos. Kim's last visit to Vietnam was in 2001.

North Korea and Vietnam were close allies until ties began cooling with Hanoi's establishment of relations with South Korea in 1992.

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