On Eve of Summit, Pope Francis Prays for ‘Peaceful Future for the Korean Peninsula’

Pope Francis prays during a mass on Christmas eve marking the birth of Jesus Christ on December 24, 2016 at St Peter's basilica in the Vatican. / AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty

As Singapore prepares for the historic Trump-Kim summit, Pope Francis offered prayers and best wishes Sunday for a fruitful outcome of the talks.

“I would like to send the beloved Korean people a particular thought in friendship and prayer,” the pope said before the thousands gathered for his Angelus message in Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican Sunday.

“May the talks that will take place over the next few days in Singapore contribute to the development of a positive path, ensuring a peaceful future for the Korean peninsula and the whole world. Let us pray to the Lord for this,” he said.

Invoking the Virgin Mary as “Queen of Korea,” Francis led the crowds of pilgrims and tourists in the recitation of the “Hail Mary” for the successful outcome of the meetings.

President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore not long after the pope’s address for his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The meetings aim to end a nuclear stand-off between the two countries and to assist North Korea in its integration with the global community.

Air Force One landed at Singapore’s Paya Lebar Air Base a couple hours after the arrival of the North Korean supreme leader as the United States hopes to strike a deal that will lead to the denuclearization of the communist nation.

After his 20-hour flight from Canada, President Trump was received at the air base by Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

Trump said he felt “very good” about the summit before getting into his limousine that would take him to his hotel in central Singapore.

For his part, Mr. Kim was received by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the presidential palace.

“The entire world is watching the historic summit between [North Korea] and the United States of America, and thanks to your sincere efforts … we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit,” Mr. Kim told the prime minister.

Sunday’s trip is only Mr. Kim’s fourth public foreign visit since he took power in 2011, having traveled twice to China and once into the demilitarized zone in South Korea for a meeting with the leader of South Korea.

According to reports, 3,000 journalists have traveled to Singapore to cover the historic summit.

The meeting is especially important to Mr. Kim, since it provides him with an opportunity to elevate North Korea’s status as a “normal country.”

While for all intents and purposes the Korean war ended on July 27, 1953 through an armistice that put a stop to the fighting, the war technically still continues today because no formal peace treaty was ever signed, leaving North Korea in a political state of limbo on the international stage.

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