South Korean cardinal makes historic visit to North KoreaUpdated: 2014-05-21 13:56:36 (KST)
South Korean Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung made history on Wednesday morning, becoming the first Korean Roman Catholic leader to cross the inter-Korean border into the North.
He is currently at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, meeting with South Korean Catholics there and touring the factory zone.
For more, let's go live to our correspondent Hwang Sung-hee.
Sung-hee, the visit is somewhat unexpected. What prompted the trip?
Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung's trip to the Kaesong Industrial Complex has been carefully planned over the last three or four months, but it was only made public late last night.
He is the first South Korean Roman Catholic leader to cross the border into the North.
The trip comes amid escalating tensions on the peninsula, but the South Korean government has made clear that the visit is in no way political.
Cardinal Yeom's schedule for the day included a tour of the joint factory zone and a meeting with South Korean Catholics.
It hasn't been confirmed whether Cardinal Yeom will hold mass at the Kaesong complex, but he has in the past been vocal about his desire to do so.
In fact, he had planned to hold mass at the joint industrial park last December, but that plan was scrapped at the last minute following the execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-thaek.
The cardinal's trip comes three months before Pope Francis will travel to South Korea for a visit and this is fueling speculation that the Holy Father could also make a stop in the North. How likely a possibility is that?
Pope Francis is scheduled to come to Seoul in August and expectations are high as to whether he will become the first pope to visit North Korea.
Pope Francis has shown a great deal of interest in peace and reconciliation between the two Koreas and he is expected to deliver a message for the entire Korean peninsula upon his visit this summer.
But for now, the South Korean Catholic church said the Pope has no plans to travel to the North.
Cardinal Yeum is expected to return from the complex and hold a briefing in less than an hour, so I'll have more details on his trip in our our later newscast.
This has been Hwang Sung-hee reporting live from the Inter-Korean Transit Office in Paju.
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