News Reports Say Pope John Paul to Visit South Korea in 1989
Dec. 26, 1988
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Pope John Paul II will visit South Korea in October 1989, but the Vatican said Monday that news reports the pontiff planned to visit China and North Korea were ''all speculation.''
The South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted unidentified Roman Catholic church sources as saying the pope would attend the 44th International Eucharistic Congress in Seoul Oct. 5-8.
It said the Vatican was trying to arrange for the pope to come to South Korea from North Korea through Panmunjom, the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas.
The news agency quoted a church official, who asked not to be identified, as saying the Vatican hoped the trip would ''ease tension and promote peace on the divided Korean peninsula.''
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro said ''there is nothing planned'' regarding a visit to either North Korea or China. He said the pope intends to go to South Korea for a eucharistic congress, but gave no details.
Pope John Paul II visited South Korea in 1984 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Korean Catholic Church.