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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - North Korean leader to visit

North Korean leader to visit

Responding to an invitation from Prime Minister Hun Sen, North Korea's premier Kim

Yong Il will visit Cambodia. Although few details about the leader's plans were announced,

Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said he expects the two countries to sign a Memorandum

of Understanding on investment during the November 1-4 visit.

Prasidh said the agreement would open the door for more trade between North Korea

and Cambodia.

North Korea has potential in cement and fertilizer, both needed in Cambodia. Prasidh

said Cambodian investors will consider the opportunity to invest in these sectors

for import to Cambodia.

"I hope we will attract North Korea to invest in Cambodia," said Prasidh,

who is also vice president of the Council for the Development of Cambodia "So

far both countries have no investment in each other."

An official of the Embassy of North Korea could not be reached for comment.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kim Yong Il will meet

with the King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who has maintained a personal relationship

with the North Koreans since the 1970s when he was ejected from power and stayed

for long periods at a residence in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. His bodyguards

are all provided by North Korea. The King Father last visited Pyongyang with the

Queen in March 2006, according to the Cambodian embassy in North Korea.

Kim Yong Il also will have official discussions with Prime Minister Hun Sen and will

meet Chea Sim, the president of the Senate, and Heng Samrin, the head of the National

Assembly. Because Cambodia maintains relations with both Koreas, a year ago in the

wake of the disclosure by North Korea that it had conducted new nuclear tests, Seoul

asked Cambodia to help mediate with North Korea for peace on the peninsula.

In 2001, North Korea's No. 2 leader Kim Yong Nam, made a four day official visit

to Cambodia with a 40 member delegation at Sihanouk's invitation.

North Korea is also sending observers to Cambodia in late November to learn about

competition for disabled volleyball athletes. The North Koreans were not expected

to play in the Cambodian National Volleyball League /Disabled tournament to be held

from November 24 to December 1, but were expected to observe so they can start their

own program.



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