New apostolic nuncio to encourage North-South Korea peace

The new apostolic nuncio to South Korea, Monsignor Alfred Xuereb, will be working towards improving relations between North and South Korea.

He will also actively encourage peace initiatives in the region.

Monsignor Marco Sprizzi has been in charge of the Nunciature in Seoul since the retirement of Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla last year.

He says Xuereb is “one of the closest allies of Pope Francis and reads the pope’s thinking very well.”

Xuereb is taking up his diplomatic post amid improving relations between the two Koreas.

The two countries have been technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice and not a peace treaty.

North Korea and the United States have been trading insults and threatening war for months over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes.

After carrying out a number of tests last year, North Korea stopped its testing programme in November.

This has helped improve relations with the South.

Positive developments include the two Koreas marching together under a united flag in the opening ceremony of this year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.

United States President Donald Trump announced last week that he had accepted an invitation to meet with North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

The meeting’s aim is to negotiate the North’s nuclear weapons programme.

Trump will be the first sitting United States president to meet face-to-face with a North Korean leader.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in helped to facilitate the upcoming meeting.

He sent his National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong to Pyongyang on Monday and then to Washington to convey the North Korean leader’s invitation to Trump.

Moon is a practising Catholic who has pledged himself to peaceful dialogue on the Korean peninsula.


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