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Leading religious leaders to visit N.K.

Posted August. 14, 2000 21:19,   


Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-Hwan and Archbishop Cheong Jin-Suk of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul are likely to visit North Korea, possibly before Pope John Paul II¡¯s pending trip to the North.

In addition, South Korean popular singers may perform in Pyongyang around Christmas, and exchange tours of Mt. Paekdu in the North and Mt. Halla in the South could be launched around October.

Cultural and Tourism Minister Park Jie-Won Monday announced these projects as the main points of an agreement reached between the two countries during a visit by the heads of South Korea`s major press companies.

Minister Park said that the North expressed its intention to work aggressively to realize the joint visit of Cardinal Stephen Kim and Archdiocese Chung, whose planned May visit was pushed back at the last moment so that they could travel to the North prior to the Pope`s trip. Minister Park said that Pyongyang expressed its desire to have leaders of the seven representative religious groups visit the North.

Park said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il mentioned four times that he would like to see South Korea`s most famous singers, Lee Mi-Ja and Kim Yon-Ja, perform at the Mokran Hall in Pyongyang. Park said that other names such as Cho Young-Pil were mentioned, and thus the size and list of the performers will be decided in the future after consultations.

Minister Park said that the government will work to start the exchange tours of Mt. Paekdu and Mt. Halla around October since weather in November will be too chilly for trips to Mt. Paekdu. The lucky candidates on the 100-strong list of participants in the Mt. Paekdu tour will mostly be members of the academia and representatives of the nation`s tourism industry, Park said.