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Moon to meet with Pope Francis at G20 summit

Posted October. 23, 2021 07:32,   

Updated October. 23, 2021 07:32


South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican at the end of this month. Meeting with the pontiff for the second time following the one in 2018, Moon will likely urge Pope Francis to add momentum for peace on the Korean Peninsula by visiting North Korea.

According to the presidential office on Friday, President Moon will meet with the pope when he visits Italy to attend the G20 summit late this month. “Since Pope Francis already expresses his intention to visit the North, we think President Moon will naturally request him to visit the North,” a presidential office official told The Dong-A Ilbo on the day. “We expect the pope’s visit to the North will be an important beachhead amid a phase of inter-Korean dialogue.” When meeting with President Moon in October 2018, Pope Francis said, “I can go,” in strongly expressing his intention to visit the Stalinist country.

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae expects the pope’s visit to Pyongyang will provide a “steppingstone” towards improving inter-Korean relations along with Seoul’s suggestion to Washington to declare end of the Korean War, over which Seoul and Washington have been widely discussing lately. Some insiders in the ruling party predict if the pope actually visits the North around the year’s end, it would be also possible for the leaders of the two Koreas to meet in China during the winter Olympics in February next year.

The pope is also scheduled meet with U.S. President Joe Biden late this month. Both Moon and Biden are sincere Catholics.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com