This morning Pope Benedict recalled the joyful memories of World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia in a meeting with the country’s prime minister before sitting down with South Korea’s president and focusing on the concerns currently facing his country.
In his meeting with the Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd, the Holy Father recalled the 2008 World Youth Day festivities that took place in Sydney, particularly “the great spirit of collaboration between the ecclesiastical and civil authorities that characterized the organization of that event.”
The two heads of state then turned their discussion to the current regional and international issues, “with reference to both respect for religious liberty and environmental problems," reports the Vatican press office.
The Holy See also released information about the Pope’s meeting with Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea, in which they discussed the world’s economic crisis, especially in the poorest countries, as well as the current political and social situation on the Korean peninsula.
The Korean peninsula is home to South Korea (Republic of Korea) as well as North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). North Korea has made headlines in the past week after launching at least seven missiles on July 4 into the Sea of Japan (East Sea). The country has also recently been blamed for cyber attacks against several American and South Korean government agencies.
During the meeting with President Myung-bak, the Pope noted the favorable relationship between South Korea and the Vatican, as well as the religious dialogue and cooperation that exists between the Church and State in social and educational settings.