Find New Paths to Build Peace: Pope

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The Pope has called for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula, on the final day of his visit to South Korea on August 18. Koreans, Pope Francis said, should reject a “mindset of suspicion and confrontation” and find new paths to build peace. He spoke at a Mass in Seoul’s main cathedral attended by President Park Geun-hye and North Korean defectors.

Speaking at Myeongdong Cathedral, the Pope said all Koreans were “brothers and sisters, members of one family, one people”. “Let us pray for the emergence of new opportunities for dialogue, encounter and the resolution of differences,” he said.He also called for generosity in providing humanitarian assistance to those in need, and urged Koreans to work together as one, “with no victors or vanquished”.Representatives from North Korea’s state-run Korean Catholic Association were invited to attend the Mass, but Pyongyang rejected this offer.

The service coincided with the start of major US-South Korea military exercises called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, last for 12 days,that involve some 80,000 US and South Korean service personnel.The exercises always enrage North Korea, which has in recent weeks conducted a series of short-range missile tests - including one as the Pope arrived. The North has threatened a “merciless” retaliatory strike in response to the drills.

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