At the Vatican, the South Korean leader says he is certain of peace

VATICAN CITY (AP) – The President of South Korea said he was confident that peace could be achieved on the Korean Peninsula as he prepared for an audience on Thursday with Pope Francis, expecting an invitation from the North. Korean leader Kim Jong Un for Francis to visit.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has announced "Mass for Peace" in St. Peter's Basilica on a Wednesday evening. The top diplomat of the pope, Cardinal secretary Pietro Parolin, celebrated Mass.

In his sermon Parolin prayed for the "gift of peace" on the Korean peninsula, so "after so many years of tensions and divisions, the word" peace "can sound complete."

Moon spoke at the end of the service and said that the prayers offered there "will also echo as an echo of hope in the hearts of the people of the two Korea's, as well as the people of the whole world who peace to wish."

"Our prayers today will certainly become a reality," said the South Korean leader. "We will attain peace and overcome division without failure."

Moon signed a broad agreement last month with Kim, intended to reduce the military tensions on the peninsula. Moon's office has reported that Kim during their summit said that the Pope "excited" would be welcomed in North Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is giving a speech at the end of a Mass Mass Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that are culminating in an audience with Pope Francis, expecting an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is giving a speech at the end of a Mass Mass Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that are culminating in an audience with Pope Francis, expecting an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is giving a speech at the end of a Mass Mass Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that are culminating in an audience with Pope Francis, expecting an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Moon also had an important role in setting up a June day between Kim and President Donald Trump that took place in Singapore, announcing ambitious goals for a nuclear free peninsula without describing how and when it would happen.

"Just as your holiness prayed before the US-North Korea summit, we set out a desirable way to ensure a peaceful future for the Korean Peninsula and the world," said Moon.

"The history of mankind is characterized by the shame of war. The signing of a declaration of end of war and a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula would dismantle the last remaining regime of the Cold War."

In an article that appeared in the Vatican newspaper L & # 39; Osservatore Romano, the moon praised Francis for his promotion of dialogue and said he hoped that the Korean peace initiative would help the Vatican to forge relations with the north.

Moon, who is Catholic, wrote that when he traveled to Pyongyang for the summit in September, he was accompanied by a Korean Catholic bishop to improve the relationship between the church in the North and the South.

"In recent months, the prayer and blessing of the pope have given the Korean people great encouragement and hope on the path to peace," said Moon.

North Korea strictly controls the religious activities of its people, and a similar invitation for then-Pope John Paul II to visit after a 2000 inter-Korean summit has never led to an encounter.

The Vatican insisted that a papal visit would only be possible if Catholic priests were accepted in North Korea.

Francis, however, has followed a less absolutist approach in the diplomacy of the Holy See, as evidenced by a recent agreement on bishop's orders signed with China, the closest ally of North Korea. Previous popes refused to make a deal with China's communist leaders, who only allow religious practices in state-sanctioned churches.

The priests of the Vatican were expelled by North Korea a long time ago and state-appointed laymen appointed services. Estimates of the number of North Korean Catholics range from 800 to about 3,000, compared with more than 5 million in South Korea.

After an unusually provocative series of weapons trials last year, Kim has had a diplomatic offensive, including three summits with Moon and those with Trump.

The South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook, second from the left, are in the St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican, Wednesday 17 October 2018. The South Korea's president is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, expecting an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

The South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook, second from the left, are in the St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican, Wednesday 17 October 2018. The South Korea's president is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, expecting an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

The South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook, second from the left, are in the St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican, Wednesday 17 October 2018. The South Korea's president is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, expecting an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin, on the right, listens to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is giving a speech at the end of a mass for peace in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expected to extend an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin, on the right, listens to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is giving a speech at the end of a mass for peace in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expected to extend an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin, on the right, listens to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is giving a speech at the end of a mass for peace in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expected to extend an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican state secretary Pietro Parolin, left, runs past South Korean president Moon Jae-in, the second from the left, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, the third from the left, while he arrives for a mass for peace in the Celebrating St. Peter's Basilica. the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to receive an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invite to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican state secretary Pietro Parolin, left, runs past South Korean president Moon Jae-in, the second from the left, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, the third from the left, while he arrives for a mass for peace in the Celebrating St. Peter's Basilica. the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to receive an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invite to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican state secretary Pietro Parolin, left, runs past South Korean president Moon Jae-in, the second from the left, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, the third from the left, while he arrives for a mass for peace in the Celebrating St. Peter's Basilica. the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to receive an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invite to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

The South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook, second from the left, are in the St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican, Wednesday 17 October 2018. The South Korea's president is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, expecting an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

The South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook, second from the left, are in the St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican, Wednesday 17 October 2018. The South Korea's president is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, expecting an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

The South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook, second from the left, are in the St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican, Wednesday 17 October 2018. The South Korea's president is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, expecting an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican state secretary Pietro Parolin, left, and South Korean president Moon Jae-in to prepare for a speech at the end of a mass for peace in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018 South Korea President is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit him. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican state secretary Pietro Parolin, left, and South Korean president Moon Jae-in to prepare for a speech at the end of a mass for peace in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018 South Korea President is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit him. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican state secretary Pietro Parolin, left, and South Korean president Moon Jae-in to prepare for a speech at the end of a mass for peace in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018 South Korea President is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit him. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrives in St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings will culminate in an audience with Pope Francis, where he expected to invite an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrives in St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings will culminate in an audience with Pope Francis, where he expected to invite an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrives in St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings will culminate in an audience with Pope Francis, where he expected to invite an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, on the right, sits in the St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate in an audience with Pope Francis, which he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, on the right, sits in the St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate in an audience with Pope Francis, which he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, on the right, sits in the St. Peter's Basilica for a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin at the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate in an audience with Pope Francis, which he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

A South Korean presidential guard walks in the St. Peter's Basilica before the start of a mass for peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin and attended by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook in the Vatican , Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The president of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

A South Korean presidential guard walks in the St. Peter's Basilica before the start of a mass for peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin and attended by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook in the Vatican , Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The president of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

A South Korean presidential guard walks in the St. Peter's Basilica before the start of a mass for peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin and attended by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook in the Vatican , Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The president of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Nuns take a photo of souvenirs in the St. Peter's Basilica before the start of a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin and attended by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Nuns take a photo of souvenirs in the St. Peter's Basilica before the start of a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin and attended by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Nuns take a photo of souvenirs in the St. Peter's Basilica before the start of a Mass for Peace celebrated by the Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin and attended by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook in the Vatican, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The President of South Korea is in Italy for a series of meetings that will culminate with an audience with Pope Francis, whom he expects to invite an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to to visit. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

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