Nov. 26 (UPI) -- North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho is to visit Vietnam for four days this week, according to a Vietnamese news service.
VN Express reported Monday Ri's state visit begins on Thursday and concludes on Sunday. Vietnam's foreign ministry said Pyongyang's top diplomat is visiting Hanoi at the invitation of Pham Binh Minh, Vietnam's foreign minister and deputy prime minister.
Ri is expected to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum before holding a meeting with Pham on Friday. The two countries maintain longstanding diplomatic ties that date back to 1950.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is to meet with Ri on the same day, Friday.
The North Korean official's visit comes at a time when Pyongyang could be exploring economic reform options, including the Vietnamese model of development, or "Doi Moi," South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
Ri told the Vietnamese government he wanted to learn about Vietnam's experience with economic development, according to the report.
In July, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on North Korea to follow the example of Vietnam.
"The miracle could be your miracle," Pompeo said.
North Korea may be at an economic crossroads -- the country is still under heavy sanctions, as Kim Jong Un has not signaled an immediate commitment to complete denuclearization.
Pyongyang has stressed "self-reliance" and most recently claimed a tourist zone in Samjiyon County, near Mount Paektu, is nearing completion.
KCNA reported this month construction is being carried out on deadline.
The brigade members of the 216 Division were able to carry out the construction of "dozens of facilities" in less than six months, North Korea said.