South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet Pope Francis at the Vatican today. The meeting is part of Moon’s nine-day
South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet Pope Francis at the Vatican today.
The meeting is part of Moon’s nine-day trip to Europe which includes the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Rome, the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow and a visit to Hungary.
The Pope has backed reconciliation efforts on the Korean Peninsula in the past and is expected to express the same intentions this time around. Moon may also relay another invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the Pope to visit Pyongyang.
If Pope Francis visits North Korea, he would be the first Pope to do so. However, such a visit would not change the direction of ongoing missile tests by the North. On the contrary, the visit could be used by Pyongyang as leverage to reduce international sanctions—in what Kim has always used as a bargaining chip to justify missile launches.
Moon is hoping his visit to the Vatican will improve the prospects of his recent call for an end of war declaration by gaining additional international backing, but the inter-Korean stalemate will continue regardless.
Prospects for levelling with North Korea look brighter for COP26 as North Korean embassy officials from London will attend.