South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in Brussels on Thursday for a two-day visit to attend a multilateral forum of Asian and European leaders.
Pope Francis is ready to visit North Korea if its leader, Kim Jong-un, extends a formal invitation, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday after meeting the pontiff, as the Vatican separately said a visit to Taiwan was not in the works.
"I will definitely answer if I get the invitation, and I can go", the president's office quoted Pope Francis as saying.
Asked if Kim should send a formal invitation, Moon's office quoted the Pope as responding to Moon: 'your message is already sufficient but it would be good for him to send a formal invitation'.
Officials from North and South Korea and the United Nations have begun talks to turn a border village into an unarmed neutral enclave where military guards and tourists from both sides would move freely across the demarcation line.
It spoke only of "the promotion of dialogue and reconciliation between Koreans" and "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".
Meeting the South Korean president October 18, the pope praised Moon's efforts to promote peace in the Korean peninsula. (. ) President Moon, stood on the podium at Saint Peter's Basilica during a special "Mass for Peace", the first Korean leader to give an address at the event, ... presided over by the Pontiff's top diplomat, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.
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Mr Moon, who is Catholic, presented the pope with a relief of the face of Jesus Christ created by a Korean artist.
The pope expressed his support for Moon's efforts to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Moon's meeting with the pope will be "exceptional", according to the Vatican, as the pope usually receives a visiting foreign head of state early in the morning and usually only for about half an hour.
Before departing, Moon thanked the pope again for welcoming him and said, "You are not only the head of the Catholic Church, but also a teacher for humanity".
Francis said it represented "his desire for peace" on the Korean peninsula.
The Vatican previously has said a papal trip to North Korea may first require the nation to incorporate changes such as allowing for freedom of religion. Our prayers today will surely become a reality.