The ruling Democratic Party (DP) on Friday expressed hope that Pope Francis’ potential visit to North Korea will help speed up denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The pope effectively accepted an invitation to visit North Korea on Thursday when President Moon Jae-in relayed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s verbal invitation. Pope Francis said if the North sends an official invitation, he will “certainly” respond to it.
“The pope’s possible visit to North Korea indicates the international community’s support for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Hong Young-pyo, the DP’s floor leader, said at a meeting with senior party members.
“If realized, his trip will be momentum to induce the North toward the path to denuclearization,” he said. “We need a flexible approach to elicit (Pyongyang’s) denuclearization.”
The North’s leader expressed his willingness to invite the pope to his country during his third and latest summit with Moon in Pyongyang last month, according to Moon’s office.
No pope has ever visited North Korea.