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S. Korea's cardinal willing to accompany Pope Francis on possible NK visit

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung said Tuesday that he greatly welcomes Pope Francis' possible visit to North Korea and is willing to accompany him on the rare travel.

The cardinal made the comment, according to Lee Hae-chan, the chief of the ruling Democratic Party, during their meeting at a time when the pope has expressed his wish to visit North Korea someday.


"I strongly welcome the pope's potential visit to Pyongyang," said the archbishop of Seoul, who also serves as the acting chief of the Pyongyang Diocese.

"(If the pope visits North Korea), I will accompany him," he added.

Pope Francis effectively accepted an invitation to visit North Korea last month when President Moon Jae-in relayed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's verbal invitation. The pope said if the North sends an official invitation, he will "certainly" respond to it.

No pope has ever visited North Korea.

Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae expects that a papal visit could help expedite the process to bring peace to the divided peninsula, the world's last remaining vestige of the Cold War. (Yonhap)