South Korea seeks, gets Vatican support with North

South Korea can be sure of  Vatican support in reconciling differences with North Korea.

“You are always welcome,” South Korea’s Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-jong was told when he asked if President Moon Jae-in could visit.

Last month Moon, who is a practising Catholic, sent Archbishop Kim to the Vatican on his behalf.

Kim is South Korea’s first-ever envoy to the Vatican.

“I was sent by the president to ask the Holy Father for his support [and prayers] in the reconciliation process between North and South Korea, and I hope the Vatican can act as a mediator,” he says.

The mediation “could be the same as the mediation made during the restoration of relations between Cuba and the Unites States,” he suggests.

During his week-long trip, Kim met Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State and spoke briefly with Francis.

He says the scheduled talk he and Parolin had stretched from 15 to 45 minutes.

Kim says Parolin wanted an in-depth briefing about the situation in South Korea and the relations with the North.

“He agreed [with the South Korean stance] that dialogue is the only way out,” Kim says.

In his five-minute conversation with Francis, Kim says “the Pope seemed very interested in the details [of the problems on the Korean peninsula].

He says he asked Francis to “offer blessings for the new president to complete his missions”.

In response, Francis said is taking a special interest in Korea and the church.

“He also wished the new government under President Moon Jae-in to do well,” Kim says.

Francis gave Kim a Rosary to take to Moon and reportedly said, “The more difficult the situation, the more it should be resolved through dialogue rather than arms.”

Ultimately, Moon would like to reopen borders and possibly meet North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

The international community is wary of Moon’s stance, with the North’s recent missile launches prompting increasingly tough sanctions from the UN Security Council.




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