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S. Korean Catholic bishops to visit N. Korea this week

A group of South Korean Catholic bishops said Monday its members plan to visit North Korea this week to discuss ways of promoting cooperation with its North Korean counterpart.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea said the 17-member delegation, led by Archbishop Kim Hee-joong, will visit North Korea from Tuesday to Friday on the invitation of the North's association on Catholics.

It said they plan to discuss how to promote cooperation among Catholics of the two Koreas, including the program calling for exchanges of their priests.

The main agenda items also include how to participate in repair work for Changchung Cathedral in Pyongyang, the sole Catholic church in North Korea, it said.

The move was aimed at helping promote reconciliation between South and North Korea as this year marks the 70th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japans' 1910-45 colonial rule.

North Korea's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but in practice, the North's regime deals harshly with those involved in "almost any religious practices," meaning that religious freedom does not exist, the U.S. State Department said last month. (Yonhap)

  

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