Seoul, Nov 1 (IANS) The South Korean government on Monday urged North Korea to respond positively to a suggestion of a Papal visit to Pyongyang, expressing hope for progress in efforts to promote regional peace.
The Unification Ministry’s statement came after Pope Francis reaffirmed his willingness to visit the North during his meeting with President Moon Jae-in at the Vatican last week, reports Yonhap News Agency.
Moon and the Pope met on Friday on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Rome, during which the President said a Papal visit to Pyongyang would foster peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The Pope said he was willing to visit the North if he received an invitation, according to the Presidential Office or Cheong Wa Dae.
“As the pope’s willingness to visit North Korea has been reaffirmed, we hope the North would respond and pave the way for fostering peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Unification Ministry spokesperson Lee Jong-joo told a press briefing.
Moon and Pope Francis last met in 2018 when the President made a state visit to Italy.
At the time, Moon delivered a verbal invitation to the pope from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but a Papal visit failed to materialise amid a deadlock in nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang.