CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 26 May 2018

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Pope hails historic meeting between Korean leader

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis hailed the agreement reached at the recent inter-Korean summit regarding denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and expressed the hope that that their courageous commitment may achieve “a path of sincere dialogue for a Korean Peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons,” Vatican News reported 
 
Speaking after the Regina Coeli on April 29, the pope hailed the positive outcome of the April 27 meeting between North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, in Panmunjeom, and said he is praying so that “the hope for a future of peace and more fraternal friendship will not be disappointed, and that collaboration will continue to bear fruit for the beloved Korean people and for the whole world.”
 
The two Korean leaders spent some 30 minutes in speaking privately, media outlets reported, with the Straits Times saying that the conversation continued even after they returned to the Peace House, the summit venue, where they signed the Panmunjeom Declaration, commiting the two countries to a nuclear-free peninsula and talks to bring a formal end to the Korean War. 
 
South Korea’s Unification Minister, Cho Myong Gyon, was quoted as telling a radio show on April 30 that, “It was unimaginable in the past that the two would have a conversation without anyone around.” 
 
Among the highlights of the summit, CNN reported, were Kim and Moon meeting the demarcation line that separates the divided Koreas, with the North Korean leader then stepping over and entering territory controlled by the South for the very first time. After posing for the cameras, he then grasped Moon’s hand and they briefly crossed into the northern side.
 
The two also participated in a deeply symbolic ceremony, planting a tree from 1953—the year the Korean Armistice was signed. A mixture of soil from mountains in each country was used for the roots, while Kim poured water from a South Korean river over it and Moon poured water from the Taedong River in North Korea.
 
The United Nations secretary general, Antonio Guterres, applauded the historic summit, CNN reported.
 
Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the secretary general, said he “salutes the courage and leadership that resulted in the important commitments and agreed actions outlined.” 
 
Pope Francis led thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square in prayer on April 25 ahead of the historic summit.
 
He remarked that, “The encounter will be an opportune occasion to begin a transparent dialogue and a concrete process of reconciliation and rediscovered fraternity to bring peace to the Korean peninsula and to the whole world.”
 
Pope Francis said, “To the Korean people, who ardently desire peace I offer assurances of my personal prayers and the closeness of the entire Church.”
 
He explained that the Holy See “accompanies, supports and encourages every useful and sincere initiative” to build peace and friendship among nations.

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