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08/31/2022 North Korea (International Christian Concern) – In a televised interview on Friday, August 26, Pope Francis stated that he is more than willing to visit North Korea if he receives an official invitation.  

According to media outlet France24, the idea of a papal visit to North Korea was originally discussed in 2018. The former South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, stated during a diplomacy summit that Kim Jong Un had told him the Pope would be “enthusiastically” welcomed. 

“When they invite me — that is to say, please invite me — I won’t say no,” Pope Francis told South Korea’s state broadcaster KBS during Friday’s interview. The Pope continued, stating that the goal of a papal visit is “simply fraternity.” Over the years, Pope Francis has implored the Korean peninsula to work toward peace.  

Pyongyang used to be a hub for missionaries in the early 20th century. It had a vibrant network of churches and was even referred to as the “Jerusalem of the East.” However, Kim II Sung, the late founding ruler of North Korea, viewed Christianity as a threat to nationalism and sought to eradicate it from the country.  

While Kim Jong Un allows Catholic organizations to run limited aid projects in the country, he does not currently permit direct relations with the Vatican.  

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