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 Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid