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Pope says he hopes Korea talks ‘advance harmony and peace’

Filippo Monteforte for AFP
Vatican City, Rome - February 1, 2017: Pope Francis poses with members of a South Korean choral during a weekly general audience at the Paul VI audience Hall.
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And sends message to event marking Jeju Massacre

With inter-Korea talks scheduled for later this month, Pope Francis lent his voice of hope to the situation on the peninsula.

On Sunday, giving the traditional Easter urbi et orbi blessing, the Holy Father said:

We implore fruits of dialogue for the Korean peninsula, that the discussions under way may advance harmony and peace within the region. May those who are directly responsible act with wisdom and discernment to promote the good of the Korean people and to build relationships of trust within the international community.

The Inter-Korean summit is slated for April 27. There is also an unprecedented US-North Korea talk planned for as early as May, with the leaders of the two nations scheduled to meet face-to-face.

The pope visited South Korea in April 2014. This year, he spoke about the hope that was generated with North and South Korea participating under one flag in the Olympics.

Meanwhile, a note sent through the pope’s secretary for state marked the 70th anniversary of the bloody massacre on the country’s southern island of Jeju.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin sent the papal message to the Korean bishops’ conference, to an event hosted by the Diocese of Jeju.

“(Pope Francis) hopes that this occasion will foster healing and reconciliation,” the cardinal said in the message, read by Bishop Kang U-il.

“Entrusting the beloved Korean people to the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace, His Holiness assures all present of his prayers, that they may persevere in hope.”

The massacre began on April 3, 1948. The rebellion was set off by the UN scheduling of elections for May 10, 1948, and atrocities ensued, with as much as 10% of the population of the island being killed. The South Korean government went on to silence the history of the uprising and its suppression.

President Moon Jae-in made the campaign promise to establish the truth about the Jeju massacre, bringing the event again to the limelight.

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