South Korean President Moon Jae-in has asked Pope Francis to visit the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas and meet DPRK leader Kim Jong-un after his trip to Japan, which finishes on 26 November, the newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
According to the outlet, this request from Moon’s office was delivered in July through Apostolic Nuncio to South Korean and Mongolia (which is a Vatican alternative for the diplomatic term “ambassador”) Archbishop Alfred Xuereb.
But will the meeting actually take place? The South Korean leader is said to have repeatedly asked the pontiff to meet with Kim. For example, Moon, who is Catholic, personally relayed Kim Jong-un’s invitation for an unprecedented visit last year during a personal audience with Pope Francis.
“The pope expressed his willingness. We have to wait for it [the invitation] to be formalised”, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, stated then.