South Korea: North’s Kim wants to host Pope
© Getty

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants Pope Francis to visit his country, according to a Tuesday statement from South Korean President Moon Jae-in Tuesday, according to media reports.

“If the pope visits Pyongyang, we will give him a rousing welcome,” Kim told Moon, The New York Times reported, citing a statement from Moon's office.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kim met with Moon last month in Pyongyang. Moon is expected to relay Kim's message to Francis when he visits the Vatican for two days next week.

The Vatican has not yet commented on the invitation, according to media reports.

It is considered unlikely that Francis would visit North Korea, which has a long history of controlling the religious activities of its citizens. No pontiff has ever visited the nation, according to the Times.

Kim has been engaging in a number of diplomatic efforts throughout 2018. He has had three meetings with Moon and he participated in a historic summit in Singapore with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE over the summer, when Kim made a vague promise to give up his nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief from the U.S.

Kim also met on Sunday with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBill Maher says he's 'glad' David Koch is dead Trump spurs new wave of economic angst by escalating China fight Trump on North Korean projectile launches: Kim 'likes testing missiles' MORE.