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+++ South Korea: President Moon to visit Pope Francis on 18 October with invitation from Kim Jong-un to visit Pyongyang +++

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is to make an official visit to the Holy See on 17 and 18 October on which he will relay a message from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Pope Francis: “I would ardently welcome the Pope if he visits Pyongyang”. The announcement was made by Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for the Blue House, the official residence of the South Korean head of state. “President Moon will make an official visit to the Holy See on 17 and 18 October”, the spokesman said: “He wishes to reaffirm the Holy See’s blessing and support for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and discuss how cooperation may be improved, especially during the meeting with Pope Francis”. And he added: “Mr Kim said: ‘I would ardently welcome the Pope if he visits Pyongyang’. And President Moon will relay this message to Pope Francis”. Spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom also gave the news of a meeting that took place between Kim Jong-un and Mgr. Hyginus Kim Hee-Joong, Archbishop of Gwangju and president of the Korean Bishops’ Conference. “I would like to add – the spokesman went on to say – Mr Kim met the president of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Hee-Joong, on Mount Paektu. His Excellency the Archbishop told Mr Kim that North Korea and South Korea are heading towards peace in the Peninsula. I will relay this news to the Holy See. Upon hearing these words from the Archbishop, Mr Kim replied: ‘Please do so’”.

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