South Korean Religious Leaders Travel to North Korea

Posted September 21st, 2011 at 4:46 am (UTC-5)
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Leaders of seven South Korean religious groups left Wednesday on a rare trip to North Korea, with the aim of easing recent cross-border tensions.

The 24-member delegation belongs to the Korean Conference of Religion for Peace. They are heading to Pyongyang on a four-day visit that will include talks and joint prayer meetings with their North Korean counterparts.

Archbishop Kim Hee-joong, the leader of the group, said they plan to deliver wishes for peace from South Korea's faith community.

He said they hope the visit will help move the two Koreas closer to reunification.

Roman Catholics, Protestants and Buddhists are among the seven major religious groups represented by the delegation.

The trip is the latest in a series of cultural and religious exchanges that suggest tensions between the two Koreas are easing.

A group of South Korean Buddhist monks was allowed to attend a religious ceremony in the North earlier this month, and a prominent South Korean orchestra conductor returned last week from a cultural exchange with his musical counterparts in Pyongyang.