Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Kim Jong-Un invites Pope Francis to visit North Korea

Kim Jong-Un invites Pope Francis to visit North Korea

Kim praised their "nice meeting", telling Pompeo via an interpreter following the morning's talks that it was "a very nice day that promises a good future. for both countries".

Pompeo said he was also hopeful that Kim would allow inspectors to visit a "missile engine test site", believed to be a facility in the town of Tongchang-ri that North Korea says it has begun dismantling.

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. While significant work remains to be done, he said he expected further results after an as-yet unscheduled second summit between Kim and President Trump.

But once he arrived in Beijing, the agenda swiftly pivoted to the burgeoning acrimony between the world's two biggest economies, sparked by US President Trump's trade war and fuelled by his allegations that the Chinese government is "meddling" in next month's mid-term elections.

However, there were no plans for him to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which was seen as a sign of worsening relations between the two powers.

The desire to welcome the leader of the Catholic church comes as Kim attempts to transform his image from paranoid head of a rogue state to young and dynamic world leader.

Since Trump and Kim met, US-North Korea relations have stalled.

Pompeo had said the goal of his meeting with North Korea was "to make sure we understand what each side is truly trying to achieve. and how we can deliver against the commitments that were made" in Singapore where Kim and Trump held their historic summit earlier this year.

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The North has accused Washington of making "unilateral and gangster-like" demands on denuclearization and has insisted that sanctions should be lifted before any progress in nuclear talks.

Pompeo said it is important for the two allies to have a "fully coordinated, unified view of how to proceed, which will be what is needed if we are going to be successful on denuclearizing North Korea".

The Pope has in the past supported dialogue between the two Koreas and the historic summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump, which took place in Singapore on June 12.

Moon said a second Trump-Kim summit could be accompanied by major diplomatic developments that could contribute to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and stabilizing peace.

Wang said the North Korean issue shows that Beijing and Washington "can and should increase communication and cooperation". Last week, Vice President Mike Pence stepped up the US pressure campaign against Beijing, going beyond the trade war by accusing China of both "malign" efforts to undermine President Donald Trump ahead of next month's congressional elections and of reckless military action in the South China Sea.

"I would certainly expect so", the official said. "But we will get there", Pompeo said.

"For Asia, the severity of China-U.S. frictions is taking up much attention and is, to some extent, diluting attention paid to the Korean peninsula issue", it said.

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