South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived Tuesday in Italy, the second leg of his Europe tour, seeking to expand bilateral relations and rally support for peace efforts with North Korea.
During his three-day stay in Rome, he will hold a summit with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. He will also visit the Vatican to meet Pope Francis and deliver North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's invitation for the Catholic leader to visit Pyongyang.
Moon flew in from Paris, where he held talks with President Emmanuel Macron focusing on economic ties and the denuclearization of North Korea.
In France, one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Moon called for support for the peaceful denuclearization of the North, which he said may require the international community to provide timely rewards for giving up nuclear weapons.
"I believe the international community needs to provide assurances that North Korea has made the right choice to denuclearize and encourage North Korea to speed up the process," he said in a joint press conference with Macron shortly after the summit.
"We must further encourage North Korea's denuclearization process by easing U.N. sanctions when and if we decide the North's denuclearization process has at least reached a point of no return," he added.
In Rome, Moon will also meet President Sergio Mattarella before his summit with Prime Minister Conte.
In the Vatican, Moon will attend a special mass for peace on the Korean Peninsula to be presided by Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Wednesday. Parolin serves as the secretary of state of the Holy See.
He will head to Brussels on Thursday for the biennial Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit. His trip will end in Denmark, where he is set to attend the inaugural summit of Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030, or P4G.
Source: Yonhap News Agency