Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Pope indicates willingness to visit North Korea - 10/18/2018 8:06:01 AM

Article published after Mike Pompeo's 'productive' talk on denuclearization Pope indicates willingness to visit North Korea - 10/18/2018 8:06:01 AM
Melinda Barton | 21 October, 2018, 03:32

Mr Moon "conveyed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's desire for a papal visit to North Korea", the South Korean presidential office said in a statement.

Vatican The Pope is considering visiting North Korea, he told President Moon of South Korea in a private audience yesterday.

No pope has ever visited the North.

Moon's spokesman also quoted the Pope as saying that he "strongly" backed the peace process, telling the South Korean leader to "march ahead without stopping", adding: "Do not be afraid".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook, second from left, sit inside St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018.

It spoke only of "the promotion of dialogue and reconciliation between Koreans" and 'the common commitment to fostering all useful initiatives to overcome the tensions that still exist in the Korean Peninsula, in order to usher in a new season of peace and development'.

Greeting Moon at the entrance to the library of the Apostolic Palace, the pope said, "Welcome!"

"I come here as the (South) Korean head of state but I am also Catholic and my baptismal name is Timothy".

"I am pleased to have met you".

The South Korean leader also thanked the pope for taking time to meet him despite his busy schedule during the Synod of Bishops. The pope's top diplomat, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, celebrated the Mass.

The president pointed to the wreath of thorns on Jesus' head and told the pontiff: "This represents the suffering of the Korean people".

"In recent months, the pope's prayer and blessing have given the Korean people great encouragement and hope on the path to peace", Moon said. "North Korea summit, we are paving a desirable way toward assuring a peaceful future for the Korean Peninsula and the world", Moon said.

President Moon making the most of his time in the limelight to talk about a subject so close to his heart... Our prayers today will surely become a reality.

Moon's seeking a papal endorsement of the continued efforts to achieve peace on the peninsula.

A trip that would be the first by a pope to officially atheist North Korea would need "serious preparation and consideration", Mr Parolin said.