“If the pope visits us, we will give him a rousing welcome,” the dictator said
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has invited the Catholic Pope Francis to make an official visit to Pyongyang.
This is a highly unexpected move, particularly as the Vatican and North Korea have no formal diplomatic relations and North Korean Catholics are routinely executed by state forces.
The invitation will be personally delivered to the Vatican by South Korean president Moon Jae-in, himself a Catholic, who will be in Europe on official business next week.
“During the meeting with Pope Francis, Mr Moon will relay the message from chairman Kim Jong-un that he would ardently welcome the Pope if he visits Pyongyang,” said Mr Moon’s spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom, according to the BBC.
Kim reportedly said that the Pope would be “enthusiastically” welcomed in North Korea should he accept the invitation.
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“If the pope visits Pyongyang, we will give him a rousing welcome,” the dictator said.
Kim Jong-un has been condemned as one of the worst suppressors of religious freedom in the world
According to the Christian persecution watchdog “Open Doors,” North Korea is currently the most dangerous nation on earth for Christian to live in, with many being tortured and even executed for their faith.
“If Christians are discovered, they are deported to labor camps as political criminals or killed on the spot