Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Kim Jong Un 'wants Pope Francis to visit North Korea'

Kim Jong Un 'wants Pope Francis to visit North Korea'

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has invited Pope Francis to visit his country, according to South Korean officials.

South Korea's presidential office said in a statement that Kim told President Moon Jae-in during their summit last month that the pope would be "enthusiastically" welcomed in North Korea.

Wang's remarks made clear that China is most concerned about USA moves to improve ties with Taiwan.

"I will surely tell you in private about our conversation".

USA officials have thus far said the penalties will remain in place until the North's denuclearization is fully verified.

The secretary of state's previous trip to North Korea, in July, did not go so well.

But, as Pompeo made his way back to Washington after three days of talks in Tokyo, Pyongyang, Seoul and Beijing, it was unclear what had been accomplished.

Before reporters were ushered from the room, Pompeo focused instead on what the two sides agreed on: the importance of denuclearizing of North Korea. In June, NBC News reported that an updated intelligence assessment concluded that North Korea was stepping up production of fuel for nuclear weapons at secret sites across the country.

North Korea remains under economic sanctions while President Trump presses the country for nuclear disarmament.

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Pompeo's meeting in Beijing was the last stop of his Asia trip, meant to revitalise the stalled denuclearisation negotiations with Pyongyang, in particular, amid concerns that worsening Sino-US relations could undermine their cooperation on North Korea.

"You have no nuclear tests, you have no rockets, and we have a very good relationship with Chairman Kim, which is very important", Trump said. "But it is wholly in keeping with North Korea's desire to maintain the upper hand in the global public narrative, shaping a discourse where it is the driver of peace".

Though the Vatican confirmed their receipt at the time of an official invitation delivered on behalf of Kim Jong Il by the South Korean ambassador in Rome, the Pope did not in the end travel to North Korea.

The visit was Pompeo's fourth to North Korea.

Donald Trump said Tuesday that he will have a second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Kim Jong-un - and it could happen at his private Mar-a-Lago resort club in Florida. "Timing won't be too far away", he said.

High-level exchanges between the two countries have been frozen, including a planned diplomatic and security meeting between US Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe originally scheduled for mid-October in Beijing.

The US is hoping to get China to support its plan for North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

Trump said "eventually we're going to have lots of meetings on USA soil and on their soil by the way".

Pompeo declined to comment on the status of talks over Yongbyon or the details of negotiations generally, saying "we're not going to talk about where we are in these negotiations, except for things we have agreed to release with the North Koreans".

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