S. Korean president to hold summit with Italian premier, visit Vatican
ROME, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in was set to hold a bilateral summit with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Wednesday, one day after he arrived here on an official visit that will also include his visit to the Vatican.
The Moon-Conte summit will be held later in the day, following Moon's meeting and lunch with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, according to Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
Italy is the second leg of Moon's five-nation tour that will later take him to Belgium and Denmark.
Moon was widely expected to seek Italy's support for his country's efforts to peacefully denuclearize North Korea.
In his bilateral summit Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, the South Korean president highlighted the need for the international community to start easing its sanctions on the impoverished North when the country's denuclearization process reaches a "point of no return."
Moon will likely seek the blessing of the Holy See for such efforts when he makes an official visit to the Vatican later in the day.
A special mass will also be held in honor of the visiting South Korean leader at St. Peter's Basilica later Wednesday.
The mass for peace on the Korean Peninsula will be presided by Pietro Parolin, marking a very rare occasion for the secretary of state of the Vatican to preside over such a mass, Cheong Wa Dae said.
Moon will meet with Pope Francis on Thursday when he is expected to deliver a personal invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for the pontiff to visit Pyongyang.
Should the pope accept the invitation and become the first-ever head of the Roman Catholic church to visit the communist state, it may signal the start of North Korea becoming a normal state, Cheong Wa Dae officials have said.
Moon will end his three-day trip to Rome and the Holy See on Thursday to head for Brussels where he will attend the biennial Asia-Europe Meeting.
His European tour will end in Copenhagen where he will take part in the inaugural summit of the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030, also known as P4G.
Source: Yonhap News Agency