South Korean president Moon Jae-in’s office has reportedly asked Pope Francis to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas at the end of his visit to Japan on Nov. 26.
A government official delivered the invitation in July through Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, the apostolic nuncio to South Korean and Mongolia, according to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, citing unidentified people familiar with the issue.
This followed a similar request made by Moon after his Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity address during a visit to Vatican City in October last year, the report said.
Moon, a Catholic, reportedly extended an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to visit the reclusive country.
The invitation came amid peace-building efforts last year by the two Korean leaders and attempts by Kim to push for greater global recognition.
During a summit between Moon and Kim summit earlier in September, the North Korean leader said he would “ardently welcome the pope if he visits Pyongyang.”
The Vatican said at the time that Pope Francis would seriously consider making an unprecedented visit to North Korea, but some conditions would have to be met.
“Once we start thinking in earnest about the possibility of making this trip, then we will have to think about conditions in which the trip can take place,” Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, told reporters.
Currently, there are no diplomatic ties between the Vatican and North Korea.
Moon’s office has not received a confirmed response about the invitation to meet Kim at the border, according to the Chosun Ilbo report.