CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 August 2018

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US-North Korea summit the start of a long journey

HONG KONG (SE): Talks between Donald Trump, the president of United States of America, and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, are truly historic and bring hope for the start of a new era of peace, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, apostolic nuncio to South Korea and Mongolia, said in a Vatican News report on June 12.
 
He said that a “very important” new page has been turned and that, “It marks the beginning of a still long and arduous journey, but we are hopeful because the start has been very positive, very good.” 
 
Kim and Trump met on Singapore’s Sentosa Island for the historic summit on June 12—the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
 
It concluded with a one-page agreement. Afterward, Trump said Kim would work to end North Korea’s nuclear programme. Trump promised to end joint military exercises with South Korea—possibly unsettling the US’ regional allies.
 
CNN noted in a commentary that, “In terms of the substance of the Singapore summit, the declaration signed by the two leaders offered only broad-stroke commitments to peace, denuclearisation and redefining the overall nature of US-North Korea relations… but the lack of detail and the mirroring of past commitments is concerning.”
 
However, Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, the bishop of Seoul and apostolic administrator of Pyeongyang, North Korea, during the 1168th Mass for Peace and Reconciliation in Myeongdong Cathedral on June 12, said: “When I heard the news that there was a meaningful agreement between the two summits in their first meeting, I deeply thanked God to remember our prayers for reconciliation and union of the Korean people.”
 
A press release from the Archdiocese of Seoul reported him as saying, “I sincerely wish that the agreement can be promptly executed to achieve the common good not only for Korean people but for all people on the globe.” 
 
He added his prayers for the faithful in North Korea that they might have the freedom of religion and be able to lead humane lives as soon as possible.
 
“You can imagine how anxiously the Korean people and the Church here in Korea are experiencing this truly historic moment,” Vatican News reported Archbishop Xuereb, who was also at the reconciliation Mass, as saying.
 
“The Holy See wants to support whatever possible initiative that promotes dialogue and reconciliation” while also taking advantage of being able to take the gospel message to everyone, he said.
 
Pope Francis led thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square in prayer on June 10, expressing hopes the summit would lead to lasting peace.

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