VATICAN CITY _ Could Pope Benedict XVI be the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to make a visit to South and North Korea? Chances are being heightened after a breakthrough was made in the North Korean nuclear standoff on Tuesday.
President Roh Moo-hyun is scheduled to pay a visit to Pope Benedict XVI with first lady Kwon Yang-suk on Thursday and talk about the agreement made during the six-party talks in Beijing on Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament.
It is the second time for a South Korean president to visit Vatican City. South Korea has two cardinals _ Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan and Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-suk _ and some 5.1 million Catholics.
The late Pope John Paul II visited South Korea in 1984 to mark the 200th anniversary of Catholicism in the country and then in 1989 to attend the 44th foreign pastoral visit.
Pope Benedict XVI has not yet made a visit to either of the two Koreas.
That's all well and good. Not much to talk about.
North Korea agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor and eventually disable its nuclear weapons program in exchange for energy assistance, just four months after the Stalinist state conducted its first nuclear test.
Trusting the Norks to follow through at this point in time is nuts. If in a year spent dismantling under constant supervision with verifiable results, the Norks have made definite progress, then East Asia can relax.