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Korean Catholics praise Trump-Kim summit

Seoul (UCAN):  The Korean Catholic Church welcomed the latest leaders’ summit between the president of United States of America (US), Donald Trump, and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, as an important step towards achieving denuclearisation and a lasting peace.
The two met on June 30 at the truce village of Panmunjom, which is a symbol of the divided Koreas. Trump became the first sitting US president to cross the border as Panmunjom lies just on the North Korean side of the Demilitarised Zone.
Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, released a statement supporting the development.
He said the new summit, four months after one held in Vietnam failed to reach an agreement, provided a path for dialogue on permanent denuclearisation.
The archbishop further expressed a wish that the leaders would have open hearts in order to speed up “reconciliation and unity of the Korean people.”
Pope Francis also welcomed the summit during the June 30 Angelus at St. Peter’s Square. He hailed the summit as a good example of the culture of encounter.
“Such a significant gesture might constitute a further step along the path of peace, not only on that (Korean) peninsula, but for the whole world,” Pope Francis said.
Taegon Andrew Paik Jang-hyeon, a researcher at the Catholic Northeast Asia Peace Institute in South Korea, said the spectacle of the leaders of the US and the two Koreas together at Panmunjom was the highlight of the summit because it showed that South Korea could have a more important future role in mediating the peace process.
Paik added that the involvement of South Korea was vital for the US and North Korea to understand each other.

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