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'Pope Francis won’t visit North Korea next year,' says VOA

'Pope Francis won’t visit North Korea next year,' says VOA

Posted December. 10, 2018 08:53,   

Updated December. 10, 2018 08:53


Voice of America reported on Friday (local time) that a visit to North Korea will not be on Pope Francis’ next year schedule.

A source of Vatican City interviewed on condition of anonymity by email with VOA that it is less likely for the pope to visit Pyongyang as he instead plans to go to places with less complicated immigration procedures than North Korea. In a meetup with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in October at the Papal Palace, he was delivered a message from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he would like to invite the pope to North Korea. The pope answered that he would respond to an invitation and he could visit the nation.

Since three rounds of inter-Korean summit talks occurred this year, the South Korean government has expected to beef up efforts to bring about change to openness in North Korea as well as reduction in tension on the Korean Peninsula if Pope Francis may pay a first-ever visit to Pyongyang. However, it has no option but to step back and wait and see, according to VOA.

Taek Kyoon Sohn sohn@donga.com