The Charismatic Leader: Unveiling the Life and Times of Party Leader Nguyen Phu Trong

Author Cho Chul-hyeon wants to introduce this book to young people in the Republic of Korea and Vietnam, offering them a unique insight into Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's early life. Cho aims to provide a window into the Secretary's past, allowing readers to better understand the man and his journey.

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South Korea has recently published a book titled “Vietnam’s Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong” by author Cho Chul-hyeon, as reported by VOV. This is a significant milestone as it is the first book exclusively about Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong to be published in a foreign country.


The book offers a comprehensive insight into Secretary Trong’s life and career. It delves into his early years, including his youth and university life, which have remained relatively unknown to the public. It also showcases his work as a journalist for the Communist Review, an official publication of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Author Cho Chul-hyeon. Photo: VNA


According to author Cho, there is a strong interest in Vietnam among Koreans due to the long-standing relationship between the two countries. He shared that he, too, has been fascinated by Vietnam since the 2000s and has actively participated in cultural exchange programs to learn more about the country’s literature and culture.


Cho has visited Vietnam numerous times and, over the years, has collected extensive information about its culture and literature. During this period, he also witnessed Secretary Trong’s visits to South Korea, first as the Chairman of the National Assembly in 2008 and then as the General Secretary in 2014.


The author expressed his interest in Vietnam’s high-ranking leaders, especially those who have successfully led the country’s development through innovative policies. However, he was particularly drawn to Secretary Trong due to his unique background in literature, a trait rarely seen among global leaders.


Cho began working on the book in 2022, dedicating a year and a half to collecting documents and writing. He sought assistance from Vietnam Ambassador to South Korea, Nguyen Vu Tung, in gathering articles, speeches, and other special event materials related to Secretary Trong. He also translated and studied the Secretary’s statements and speeches and referred to international press sources to learn more about his overseas visits.


The author collaborated with Vietnamese research experts to verify the documents and also discovered additional valuable information from the Communist Review. One notable find was Secretary Trong’s university graduation thesis.


Cho planned to release the book to coincide with Secretary Trong’s 80th birthday on April 14, 2024, and also intended to translate it into Vietnamese for release in Vietnam. He hopes that the book will help younger generations in both countries gain a deeper understanding of the Party chief and his early life.


The book has received a positive response, with approximately 6,000 copies sold since its release nearly a month ago. As the foreign author of the first book about Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Cho Chul-hyeon pledges to continue his research and provide updates to ensure a comprehensive and accurate portrayal.


According to Cho, the book has facilitated cultural exchange between Vietnam and South Korea. He shared that a Korean businessman investing in Vietnam purchased 1,200 copies to gift to Vietnamese students learning Korean. Additionally, some Korean businesses have expressed interest in waiting for the Vietnamese translation to distribute to their employees and partners in Vietnam.

Hannah Nguyen
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