North Korean invite for Pope should be treated ‘with great caution’
Alex Williams Premier Media
Pope Francis must respond with “great caution” to an invitation to visit North Korea, a leading Christian advocate for religious freedom has told Premier.
Benedict Rogers from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said any forthcoming trip could only be endorsed if the pontiff took regime leader Kim Jong Un to task over human rights concerns.
He said: “On the surface, it’s of course a welcome invitation but I think it should be treated with a huge amount of caution.”
“If the pope does accept the invitation, he should only do so if he goes and speaks about the horrific human rights situation – particularly religious freedom – in the country.”
A letter of invitation has been passed on from leaders in Pyongyang to the President of neighbouring South Korea, officials in Seoul announced on Tuesday. Moon Jan-in is due to meet Pope Francis during a visit to Europe next week.
It comes four months after a much-anticipated visit between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.
North Korea has consistently been named in Open Doors’ annual World Watch List as the country where persecution against Christians is worst.
Spokeswoman, Tamsin Taylor told Premier: “We know that there are 70,000 Christians imprisoned in North Korean camps.
“It would be really interesting to hear what the pope’s views are on a forthcoming visit.”
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