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N. Korea’s Kim invites Pope Francis to Pyongyang

10 October 2018
N. Korea’s Kim invites Pope Francis to Pyongyang

"Kim Jong Un inviting the Pope to Pyongyang is a bold and unexpected move", Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. State Department official who worked on North Korean issues, wrote Tuesday on Twitter.

Pompeo said there was agreement that Kim and President Donald Trump would hold their second summit as soon as possible, but plans for a sequel to their June meeting in Singapore already were in the works.

"A new order is being created on the Korean Peninsula", Moon declared.

The challenge for the US remains stark: American administrations for decades have been stymied by North Korean intransigence on its nuclear program, and the rapport between Trump and Kim hasn't resolved that issue.

Since the summit, the archbishop said he has met with Francis. "But if you look at the approach, we are in lockstep with each of those two countries in terms of how we approach achieving the results that everyone is aimed at". The state-run Korean Catholic Association says there are some 3,000 followers in the country of 25 million, while outside observers say there are only about 800.

The doveish Moon, who will attend a "peace Mass" for the Korean peninsula in Saint Peter's on October 17, has pushed rapprochement with Kim, meeting him three times in the previous year.

Pompeo told reporters Kim had said he was ready to allow global inspectors into North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear testing site and the Sohae missile engine test facility as soon as the two sides agreed on logistics.

Pompeo tweeted Monday that he was heading to China to work on a "final, fully-verified" denuclearization of North Korea.

Wang also urged the United States to stop selling arms to Taiwan and to cut off official visits and military ties with the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.

During the meeting in Beijing, Wang said China and the USA should strengthen cooperation on North Korea.

Pompeo shot back that the U.S.is very concerned with China's unsafe actions and rhetoric, which destabilizing for cross-strait relations and the entire region. North Korea has offered conditionally to close the site, but has not made a public comment on its inspection.

Pompeo responded by saying that Washington and Beijing were stuck in a "fundamental disagreement" that he hoped they could make some progress on resolving.

The current supreme pontiff, Pope Francis, led a mass in Seoul in 2014, where the North Koreans reportedly refused an invitation to travel to South Korea to attend. The North has rejected that and South Korea has suggested it may not be a necessary next step.

During a closed meeting with President Moon Jae-in, Pompeo said he and Kim agreed to arrange the second US-North Korea summit "at the earliest possible date" and to continue to discuss the specifics of date and location, Moon's office said earlier.

Last week, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made a series of allegations, including accusing Beijing of attempting to interfere with the November congressional elections. He and Biegun both said they expected meetings at the working level to begin soon and become quite frequent before the next summit.