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President Moon to discuss peace process with Pope Francis; attention on another request for papal visit to N. Korea Updated: 2021-10-28 17:11:05 KST


As part of his European tour, South Korean president Moon Jae-in will meet Pope Francis on Friday.
It is Moon's second visit to the Vatican.

The first was back in 2018 - when the Korean peace process was initiated following the historic summit between Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
During the visit, Moon verbally relayed an invitation from Kim Jong-un for the pope to visit the North.
The pontiff said, he is willing to visit, if Pyeongyang sends him an official invitation.
Any such visit would be a first. as NO pope has ever visited the reclusive regime.

However related discussions have since stalled after the breakdown of the Washington-Pyeongyang summit in 2019.

But those discussions could resume following the upcoming meeting between Moon and Pope Francis.
According to a Blue House official, the meeting will cover a wide range of topics related to the peace process on the Peninsula,… with Moon to make several "meaningful suggestions".
Observers believe that could include another request that the Pope visit the North… as Moon tries to break the deadlock with Pyeongyang before his term ends in 6 months.

And what that seems to be part of that effort is Unification minister Lee In-young making a rare trip to accompany Moon to the Vatican meeting.
The ministry's spokesperson said. that Lee, as the key figure in charge of inter-Korean relations,will help steer the meeting towards an outcome that can contribute to the peace process and inter-Korean relations.
U.S. President Joe Biden is also scheduled to meet the pope on the same day.

But there's also the situation on North Korea's side to consider.
Kim Jong-un, during his previous summit with Moon, reportedly said he would largely welcome the pope, when asked about a potential visit.
However for now the country's border remains shut down due to COVID-19making travel there impossible.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.
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