Pope Francis wants to visit North Korea, says head of South’s ruling party as President Moon heads to Europe
The leader of the Catholic church is expected to meet President Moon on Thursday during the Asian leader’s tour of Europe
The head of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party of Korea Lee Hae-chan said he had heard that the Pope wishes to visit North Korea next spring, Yonhap news agency reported on Monday.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is visiting Europe and is expected to pass on to the Vatican North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s wish to meet Pope Francis. South Korea’s presidential office said that wish was expressed during a meeting last month.
Lee’s comments come after senior South Korean bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik of Daejeon last week said a Pope visit to the neighbouring North would be “a dream that can be realised” and a gigantic step towards peace on the Korean peninsula.
Pope Francis is expected to meet South Korean President Moon on Thursday during the Asian leader’s tour of Europe, which will include a special “Mass for Peace” on the Korean peninsula in St Peter’s Basilica.
“North Korea could enter the world community as a normal country. I know how much the pope, on various occasions, has called for pacification on the Korean peninsula,” You told a news conference.
Kim told Moon of his wish to meet the pope during a meeting last month, according to South Korea’s presidential office.
The pope is expected to visit Japan next year.