Moon asks Pope Francis to visit N.Korea
Rome: South Korean President Moon Jae-in has asked Pope Francis to visit North Korea to bring peace on the Korean Peninsula, and the latter has positively reacted to the offer, saying he is willing to do so if he receives an invitation from Pyongyang, an official said.
Moon made the offer during a meeting with the Pope at the Vatican on Friday, saying a papal visit to North Korea will serve as momentum for bringing peace on the Korean Peninsula, reports Yonhap News Agency.
“If the pontiff visits North Korea when an opportunity arises, it will be momentum for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon told the Pope, according to presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee.
The Pope encouraged Moon, saying: “I am willing to go there for peace and help all of you if (North Korea) sends a letter of invitation,” according to Park.
Moon and Pope Francis also exchanged views on the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and other pending issues, Park said.
No pontiff has ever visited North Korea, which has no formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
The Pope has called for peace on the Peninsula and previously expressed a willingness to visit North Korea.
During a meeting with the Pope in 2018, Moon had delivered a verbal invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and Francis said at the time he was willing to visit the North if Pyongyang sends him an official invitation.
No further progress, however, has been made since.
Moon arrived in Rome on Thursday for the meeting with Pope Francis and the G20 Summit over the weekend.