Moon briefed the pontiff about his visit to Pyongyang in September when Kim had “expressed his wish to welcome the Pope into his country” saying he would “ardently” welcome him, the South Korean leader’s spokesman said.
“When President Moon asked the pope if it would be alright for Kim to send an invitation… the pope said: ‘What you just told me is enough, but it would be good if a formal invitation is sent’,” he said, speaking in Korean.
“If the invitation comes, I will definitely respond to that, and I can go,” he quoted the pope as saying.
In a statement by Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, the Vatican said “Strong appreciation was expressed for the common commitment to fostering all useful initiatives to overcome the tensions that still exist in the Korean Peninsula, in order to usher in a new season of peace and development.”
According to the spokesman to the South Korean leader, the Leader of the church affirmed his support for the peace and reconciliation process going on in the region.
Last month, the Vatican forged a landmark deal with Beijing on the appointment of bishops, paving the way for a rapprochement. The Vatican has not had diplomatic relations with Beijing since 1951.
In a separate statement, the Vatican said the pope was not planning a trip to Taiwan.