‘Kim wants Pope to visit North Korea’

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wants Pope Francis to visit the officially atheist country, South Korea said on Tuesday. South Korea’s presidential office said in a statement that Mr. Kim told President Moon Jae-in during their summit last month that the Pope would be “enthusiastically” welcomed in North Korea. Mr. Kim has been intensely engaged in diplomacy in recent months in what’s seen as an effort to leverage his nuclear weapons programme for an easing of economic sanctions and military pressure. North Korea strictly controls the religious activities of its people, and a similar invitation for then-Pope John Paul II to visit after a 2000 inter-Korean summit never resulted in a meeting. The Vatican insisted at the time that a papal visit would only be possible if Catholic priests were accepted in North Korea. Mr. Moon plans to convey Mr. Kim’s desire for a papal visit when he travels to the Vatican next week. The Vatican did not comment on the possibility of a papal visit.

Source  :  https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/kim-wants-pope-to-visit-north-korea/article25173708.ece

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