By Vatican News
One year after the historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, in the village of Panmunjom, on the border between the two states, Pope Francis, in a video message, recalls the “Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and the Unification of the Korean Peninsula”, signed in the House of Peace. In 1953, the same location saw the signing of the armistice that marked the end of the Korean War.
“May this celebration offer hope to all that a future based on unity, dialogue and fraternal solidarity is indeed possible”, Pope Francis says in his message. “Through patient and persistent efforts, the pursuit of harmony and concord can overcome division and confrontation.”
Prayer for "a new era of peace for all Koreans"
Francis concludes his message with the prayer “that this anniversary of the Panmunjom Declaration may bring about a new era of peace for all Koreans”. And he invokes upon all the inhabitants of the Peninsula “an abundance of divine blessings”.
That handshake on the border
On April 27, 2018, after crossing the border between the two Koreas for the first time, Kim Jong-un invited Moon Jae-in to cross the line of demarcation as well. Afterwards, the two heads of state, in their joint declaration, announced the objective of a complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. During the summit, the sister of the North Korean leader, Kim Yo-jong, who had already met with the President of South Korea during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchangn Winter Olympics, declared that it would be “necessary to accelerate the unification of the two Koreas”.