"God answered our prayers with this valuable opportunity," said Bishop Lee, who continued to urge more prayers for the Korean Peninsula.
Pope Francis also said that he was personally praying for the Inter-Korean summit during his general audience on Wednesday, April 25. He asked the faithful to join him in praying to the Father of peace "for the people of Korea, those in the South and those in the North." The pope called on "those who have direct political responsibilities to have the courage of hope by becoming 'artisans' of peace" and "to continue with trust along the path they have begun for the good of all."
The highly anticipated meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will occur "in the coming weeks" according to a statement of the White House Press Secretary on April 26.
"After a furious year of missile launches and Nuclear testing, a historic meeting between North and South Korea is now taking place. Good things are happening, but only time will tell!" wrote President Trump on Twitter on the morning of April 27.
The White House also released photos of a meeting between Mike Pompeo, who was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State yesterday, and Kim Jong Un that took place in North Korea over Easter, when Pompeo served as C.I.A. director.
"We are encouraged by President Moon and Leader Kim Jong-un's stated goal of complete denuclearization in the Panmunjom Declaration. We're studying the declaration closely to understand whether Leader Kim made any new commitments as part of this agreement," said Secretary Pompeo at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels Belgium on April 27.
Some have criticized the Inter-Korean Summit for its lack of concrete details as to what is meant by "the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula" and how this could be achieved.
Nicholas Eberstadt, a founding director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, pointed out that the North Korean regime has violated previous peace agreements multiple times, such as the "Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in 1992, "the South-North Joint Declaration" in 2000, and the 2007 "peace declaration" in which the South Korean president and Kim Jong-Il signed a statement calling for an "end to the current armistice regime and build a permanent peace regime."
"The problem is that North Korea can walk away from its peace promises at any time," said Eberstadt in an op-ed in the New York Times. "And when it eventually does, it will be able to blame whomever it wishes for this tragic result - potentially polarizing politics in South Korea, igniting tensions in Seoul's alliance with Washington or fracturing the loose coalition of governments that rallied around sanctions against it."
Eberstadt, who is also an American Enterprise Institute scholar, was additionally critical that North Korea's egregious human rights abuses were not addressed in the Korean negotiations.
There are currently an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 people in North Korea's six political prison camps, in which the U.S. State Department has found evidence of starvation, forced labor, and torture.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
"Reports indicate that tens of thousands of prisoners facing hard labor or execution are Christians from underground churches or who practice in secret," according to the 2018 report by the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom.
"In reality, there are so many mountains that we have to climb in the path towards the dialogue phase. Therefore, we need to pray all the more 'so that the will of our Father may be done on earth as in heaven,'" said South Korean Bishop Peter Lee Ki-heon.
"We need to fervently keep praying for a everlasting peace on this Korean Peninsula."
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.