North Korea wants to 'ardently welcome' Pope Francis, South says

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to visit Russian Federation soon, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping is also expected to travel to North Korea.

The North Korean leader has been intensely engaged in diplomacy in recent months in what is seen as an effort to leverage his nuclear weapons programme for an easing of economic sanctions and military pressure.

"Especially when he meets with Pope Francis, he will convey Chairman Kim's message that he will ardently welcome him if he visits Pyongyang".

A ministry official said Cho aims to visit the USA from November 13th to the 17th to attend a global forum on Korean affairs scheduled for the 15th in Washington. Moon will attend the Mass, the Vatican said.

The Latest on U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's trip to Asia (all times local): 9:30 a.m. U.S. and North Korean officials are offering positive reviews for the latest meeting...

Priests from the South occasionally visit, usually accompanying aid deliveries or humanitarian projects. "North Korea summit will create good momentum for a breakthrough in the denuclearization and irreversible progress in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula".

The Pope has in the past supported dialogue between the two Koreas and the historic summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump, which took place in Singapore on June 12.

While Kim's actions since have fallen short of Washington's demands, the Trump administration is preparing for a second summit.

Before they turned the page on decades of public acrimony, the leaders regularly traded threats and insults as North Korea pushed to develop a nuclear missile capable of hitting the United States.

Vanessa Coleman