North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants Pope Francis to visit

Pauline Gross
October 10, 2018

While significant work remains to be done, he said he expected further results after an as-yet unscheduled second summit between Kim and President Trump. Although that meeting, proposed by Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, never materialized, the plan for Francis to visit is the North's latest diplomatic initiative this year.

The invitation follows a series of meetings between Kim and American officials, including a summit with President Donald Trump, and with South Korea's head of state. He said it set up conditions for another Trump-Kim summit and help denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

"I regret that the strategic dialogue between our two countries is something you all chose not to undertake", he said. "We're not quite there yet, but we'll get there". "But we will get there".

In an early Monday dispatch, KCNA called the talks "productive and wonderful" and said "mutual stands were fully understood and opinions exchanged".

Pompeo's hurdles were highest in Pyongyang.

Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Paul Gallagher visited the Joint Security Area on the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea July 5, where he said, "It is a very historic period, a period of hope, and the Holy Father is supporting that movement".

On a more positive note, Wang said China was still willing to solve the trade dispute with the USA through negotiations, "but they must be conducted on an equal, honest and serious basis".

Those disagreements - a burgeoning trade war, China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and USA policy toward Taiwan - are unlikely to be resolved any time soon.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has reportedly invited Pope Francis to visit his country, where religious freedoms are tightly restricted and Catholic priests are prohibited.

Francis visited South Korea in August 2014.

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During the last three days of his Asia trip, Pompeo met with top leaders from all three nations in Japan, South and North Korea.

North K0rea's definition of nuclear disarmament to this date has included an insistence that the USA also disarm. The North has rejected that and South Korea has suggested it may not be a necessary next step.

Pompeo, however, played down the differences.

'I think the speed is unbelievable, ' Trump said, commenting on the pace of progress. And so there'll be tactical places where we'll have debates and disagreements.

"Almost all of the oil that goes to North Korea comes from one pipeline, comes from China - that's 90 percent of North Korea's oil", Kazianis said.

While Mr Kim's actions since have fallen short of Washington's demands, the Trump administration is preparing for a second summit.

Pompeo told journalists in Seoul that the leader had agreed to open up the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site to inspectors. It has not taken any steps to halt nuclear weapons or missile development. Kim's regime has said it wants to focus on more than just its nuclear program, and that it expects the show some flexibility with its demands.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi before their meeting in Beijing on Monday.

At their meeting, Moon will seek Francis' support for the ongoing push for peace on the Korean Peninsula and discuss future ways to cooperate with the Vatican, the Blue House spokesman added.

During a conversation with the visiting archbishop, Kim urged him to let the Vatican know his intention to build peace, according to Moon's spokesman.

Other reports by GizPress

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