Pope Francis of the Catholic worldwide says he’s open to visiting North Korea if he’s invited by its supreme leader, Kim Jong-un.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the Pope disclosed this in an interview with a South Korean broadcaster released on Friday.
“I will go there as soon as they invite me. I’m saying they should invite me. I will not refuse. The purpose of my visit is always brotherly love,’’ Francis told KBS.
North Koreans live under a dictatorship run by Kim Jong Un, the grandson of the original founder of the country.
North Koreans are generally not permitted to leave and few visitors are welcomed. The country has been locked down even tighter than usual since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Francis told KBS that he has noted how the two countries have survived the war. Technically, the war that divided the peninsula into North and South Korea has never ended.
“You have suffered through the pains of war. So you know what war means. Work toward peace. I send my blessing and prayer for peace to everyone in both Koreas.’’
Francis has hinted at a willingness to travel to North Korea in the past.
On Saturday, Pope is expected to elevate South Korean bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik to cardinal status.