Vietnam has pledged 5,000 tons of rice to flood-hit North Korea in a move to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries, AFP reports.

North Korea’s parliamentary chief, Kim Yong-Nam, met with senior Vietnamese officials on a two-day trip following young leader Kim Jong-Un’s first foray into international affairs. The once isolated state is seeking diplomatic channels amid chronic food shortages and recent flooding which left a reported 169 people dead and 400 missing. It is unclear whether those figures are correct and the UN is attempting to ratify them.

Hectares of cropland are submerged in water, exacerbating food shortage across the country. Kim, whose leadership style was seen as different from his late father, told visiting Chinese diplomats, that he aims to develop the economy and improve livelihoods.

The rice donation comes in response to a call for international help, a rare move from North Korea.