North Korea invites Pope Francis to Pyongyang
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited Pope Francis to visit Pyongyang in a gesture designed to highlight peace efforts on the Korean peninsula, South Korea’s presidential office said on Tuesday (October 9).
North Korea and the Vatican have no formal diplomatic relations. South Korean President Moon Jae-in will deliver Kim’s invitation when he visits the Vatican on October 17 and 18 during a trip to Europe, Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-keum said.
Kim Jong Un told Moon of his wish to meet the pope during September’s summit of the two leaders, the spokesman added, without elaborating on the timing. The pope has said he wants to visit Japan in 2019.
North Korea’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion as long as it does not undermine the state, but beyond a handful of state-controlled places of worship, no open religious activity is allowed.