News / Asia

Pope Francis: Dialogue Needed for Korean Reconciliation

Pope Francis waves upon his arrival at Seoul Air Base, as South Korean President Park Geun-hye (L) smiles, in Seongnam, Aug. 14, 2014.
Pope Francis waves upon his arrival at Seoul Air Base, as South Korean President Park Geun-hye (L) smiles, in Seongnam, Aug. 14, 2014.
VOA News

Pope Francis said dialogue, and not "fruitless" displays of force, will help bring peace to the Korean peninsula, as he began a five-day visit to South Korea.

Speaking in English - a rarity for the Spanish-speaking pope - Francis said diplomacy is based on dialogue rather than accusations and threats.

"For diplomacy, as [inaudible] as possible, is based on the firm and persevering condition that peace can be won through quiet listening and dialogue, rather than by mutual recriminations, fruitless criticism and displays of force," he said.

And he noted that Korea's "quest for peace" affects the stability of the entire region.

The Pope met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye after arriving in Seoul Thursday, and the two leaders gave a joint address.

Park said North and South Korea should get rid of fear and nuclear weapons and concentrate on reunification.

She thanked the pope for his prayers and for carrying out a mass "for peace and reconciliation" during his visit.

As Pope Francis's plane was landing in Seoul early Thursday, North Korea fired the first of five projectiles into the Sea of Japan.

Wonsan, North KoreaWonsan, North Korea
x
Wonsan, North Korea
Wonsan, North Korea

Seoul defense officials say the projectiles were launched from the port city of Wonsan and traveled 220 kilometers before landing in the ocean off the east coast.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-il condemned the launches, which are the latest in a series of similar rocket tests by the North.

"The message of the pope’s visit is peace and reconciliation," said Noh. "He came here to deliver messages of blessing to the Koreans both in the South and in the North. But North Korea’s firing of projectiles, and the additional two projectiles, on the day of his arrival is not good. As you know, short-range missiles, or ballistic missiles are a violation of the U.N. Security Council. We view that this reckless provocation must be stopped immediately."

During his trip, Francis will participate in a Catholic youth festival and a mass for peace and reconciliation on the divided and tense Korean peninsula.

The North declined to send a delegation to the papal mass, citing its anger at upcoming U.S.-South Korean military drills.

Like all other religions in North Korea, Catholicism is only allowed to exist under the tightest of restrictions. As a result, it is unclear how many North Koreans practice Catholicism.

The pope's trip to South Korea is also highlighting tensions between the Vatican and China, which do not have diplomatic relations.

As his plane flew over Chinese airspace, Pope Francis sent a message to President Xi Jinping offering "divine blessings of peace and well-being upon the nation."

Despite the Vatican's objections, Beijing insists on maintaining a state-controlled Catholic church, which does not answer to Rome. There is also a large underground church, and the two sides disagree over which has the authority to ordain priests.

About 100 Chinese had planned to attend the Asian Youth Day hosted by the pope. But on Thursday, Heo Young-yeop, a spokesman for the papal visit to Korea, said half of those had been unable to attend.

"Some [Chinese] youths had planned to attend the event could not come due to the complicated situation inside China. The committee feels sorry [for this]," he said.

Chinese officials have not commented on why the youths were unable to attend.

Despite its regional significance, a large part of the pope's trip is expected to focus on South Korea, which boasts about five million Catholics and is one of the church's fastest growing congregations in the world.

His trip is the first since Pope John Paul II visited South Korea in 1989. Vatican officials say Francis will bring a message about the "future of Asia" and speak to all countries on the continent during his trip.

Watch related story by VOA's Jerome Socolovsky:

Pope’s Asia Trip Puts Focus on China's Growing Christian Populationi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
August 13, 2014 8:54 PM
Pope Francis is visiting South Korea (from Aug 14-18), where he will honor martyrs who helped bring Catholicism to that country. But some Vatican watchers say the pontiff also wants to send a message to China, an officially atheist country, where experts say there are at least 30 million Christians. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has this report on how Chinese Christians in the U.S. view conditions in their former homeland.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lawrence Bush from: Texas,USA
August 14, 2014 10:14 AM
The North and the South Korea are of same community but divided by two major ideologies; viz, communism and democracy; and, Christianity and non-Christianity. The arrival of His Holiness Francis in South Korea on the lines with the Christianity is intolerable to the Noth. And, that's well marked by the firing projectiles into sea. The morbid allergy of North Korea is well-known......... The very impoverished state is intolerant with the bilateral relations between North Korea and ours;so, with our friendly state Japan in the Far East. Until North Korea sheds its mobid, defunct ideology, allergy as well, it's dieing internally.

The impoverishment and to wage war against South Korea and ours well tells the madness. The democratically administered South is a flourished state in comparison with the North; so, Japan who's a member of the Group 8. And, North Korea does see, in its allergy, the Papal is the symbol of Christianity; so, it's ours. That' not going to deter South Korea to stand with ours bilaterally, including strategic defense terms. The allergy and the intolerance of North Korea have nothing do with South Korea, ours and entire Christianity. The reclusive state to be straightened up due to its own follies.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid