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Kim Jong-un would welcome Pope Francis to Pyongyang: Cheong Wa Dae

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would “passionately welcome” Pope Francis, should the pontiff visit Pyongyang, Seoul’s presidential office said Tuesday.

According to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom, the North Korean leader revealed such intentions to President Moon Jae-in during the inter-Korean summit in North Korea.

Moon and Kim held their third summit in Pyongyang from Sept. 18 to 20. 


The spokesman added that Moon intends to relay the North Korean leader’s words to the Pope during his visit to the Vatican on Oct. 17 and 18. Moon is set to visit the Vatican as part of his five-nation tour of Europe that starts Saturday.

Moon will kick off the tour in France on Saturday, where he will discuss security and diplomatic issues, Kim Eui-kyeom said. From France, Moon will move on to Italy, where his meetings will focus on increasing industrial cooperation, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

The trip to Italy will end with an official visit to the Vatican on Oct. 18, when Moon will head to Brussels to attend the Asia Europe Meeting summit.

“Moon will put forward a way for our (Korea’s) inclusive growth model to contribute to the world’s sustainable growth,” Kim Eui-kyeom said. The term “inclusive growth” refers to the Moon Jae-in administration’s economic growth model that includes the previously promoted concept of income-driven growth.

Following the ASEM summit, Moon will move on to Denmark, where he will attend a meeting of the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030. According to Cheong Wa Dae, Moon will emphasize the importance of supporting emerging economies in sustainable growth, and discuss environment- and science-related issues with Danish leaders.

By Choi He-suk (