North Korea’s latest reconciliatory gesture is an invitation Pope Francis to Pyongyang, BBC reported. Kim Jong-un asked his South Korean counterpart to deliver this important invitation to Pope Francis.
North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is continuing his peaceful efforts, said South Korea’s presidential office. The official invitation to visit North Korea will be delivered by Moon Jae-in who will be in the Vatican next week. Kim Jong Un asked his South Korean counterpart about such a favour because North Korea and the Vatican have no formal diplomatic relations.
According to Mr Moon’s spokesman, during the meeting with Pope Francis, President Moon will relay the message from chairman Kim Jong-un that he would ardently welcome the Pope if he visits Pyongyang. In 2000, the late Pope John Paul II was once invited to North Korea but he preferred not to come. Kim Jong-il invited Pope to visit North Korea after the pope was quoted as saying it would be “a miracle” if he could go there.
North Korea does maintain a Catholic church in Pyongyang – the Jangchung Catholic Church – though it is not officially affiliated with the Vatican. Moreover, the two countries have no diplomatic relations. According to the UN, there are 800 Catholics in the country, while the state-run Korean Catholic Association shows another figure – about 3,000 Catholics. Despite having the Catholic Church in the capital, North Korea has no ties with the Vatican.