South Korea urges Kim Jong-un to accept proposal for Pope's visit to North Korea

WION Web Team
NEW DELHIUpdated: Nov 01, 2021, 03:30 PM IST

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Photograph:(AFP)

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The South Korean government called on North Korea to accept the suggestion that Pope Francis visit the country, saying it will strengthen peace in the region.

According to media reports on Monday, the South Korean administration urged North Korea to accept Pope Francis' invitation to visit the nation, claiming that it would help to improve regional peace.

The Pope met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace on Friday.

The primary subjects covered at the meeting, according to local witnesses, were the difficulty of lowering tension on the Korean peninsula and the possibility of the pontiff visiting North Korea. 

"As the pope's willingness to visit North Korea has been reaffirmed, we hope the North will respond and pave the way for fostering peace on the Korean Peninsula," the spokesperson for the South Korean Ministry of Unification, Lee Jong-joo, said, as quoted by Yonhap news agency. 

Moon Jae-in conveyed to Pope Francis the verbal invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to visit Pyongyang during his last visit to the Vatican in October 2018.

The Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, subsequently underlined the Pope's willingness to visit North Korea, but the trip was cancelled owing to a stalemate in nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang, according to the news agency. 

Yonhap reported a spokesperson of the South Korean Ministry of Unification as stating that Pope Francis' journey to North Korea might make "a big contribution to fostering peace on the Korean peninsula" just before Moon Jae-current in's visit to the Vatican.

Seoul has agreed to make additional measures to support the realisation of such a visit, according to the envoy. 

(With inputs from agencies)