Nov. 12 (UPI) — Pope Francis indicated curiosity in visiting North Korea throughout a gathering with South Korean diplomats, in keeping with South Korea’s international ministry.

Seoul’s Embassy to the Holy See mentioned the pope indicated his curiosity throughout an October assembly with South Korean Ambassador Lee Baek-man, Yonhap reported Thursday. Lee was returning to Seoul following a two-year ambassadorship.

Based on the South Korean authorities, the pope mentioned he “additionally wished to go to” the Kim Jong Un regime after Lee mentioned he hopes Francis may “bless the North Korean individuals” of their homeland, Korean newspaper Herald Enterprise reported Thursday.

South Korea’s high diplomat to the Vatican mentioned in the course of the assembly the pope “is aware of higher than anybody that peace on the Korean Peninsula, the final Chilly Battle Zone on Earth, is straight linked to world peace.”

“Behind the pope’s affirmative intention to go to North Korea is his want for peace,” Lee mentioned after the assembly.

The pope has beforehand indicated curiosity in visiting North Korea. In 2018, throughout a gathering with visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the pontiff had mentioned he may journey to the remoted nation if Kim despatched him an official invitation. Pope Francis had mentioned on the time in Italian, “Sono disponibile,” or that he’s accessible for a historic go to to Pyongyang, in keeping with Yonhap.

Seoul mentioned Lee revisited the pope’s remarks, asking Francis whether or not he’s nonetheless “of the identical opinion.” The pontiff reportedly mentioned his place stays unchanged.

North Korea has persistently ranked as one of many world’s most religiously repressive societies. U.S. nonprofit Open Doorways has mentioned the regime ranks primary on the earth for spiritual persecution, an announcement Pyongyang has denied.

Final yr, North Korea state media reported North Koreans celebrated Christmas Day with companies at two Protestant church buildings, whereas condemning the “crushing sanctions of america.”