Just three days before the top leaders from Japan, South Korea and China were to gather in the South Korean city of Busan to discuss resuming their leaders’ summit as part of a resumption of the annual trilateral summit that began in 2008 but remained suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic since 2019
Pope Francis says he is willing to visit North Korea, should the country’s leaders ever invite him, he told a South Korean broadcaster in an interview released on Friday.
“I will go there as soon as they invite me. I’m saying they should invite me. I will not refuse. The purpose of my visit is always brotherly love,” dpa news agency quoted Francis as saying to KBS.
North Korea allow only a few visitors to enter the country while citizens of the reclusive nation are generally not permitted to leave.
The country has been locked down even tighter than usual since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Pope Francis told KBS that he has noted how the two countries have survived war.
Technically, the war that divided the peninsula into North and South Korea has never ended.
“You have suffered through the pains of war. So you know what war means. Work toward peace. I send my blessing and prayer for peace to everyone in both Koreas.”
No pope has ever visited North Korea, though the late Pope John Paul II was once invited.