ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM CAIRO (CNS) -- A diplomatic
solution must be found to the escalating tension between North Korea and the
United States, Pope Francis told journalists.
"The path (to take) is the path of negotiation, the
path of a diplomatic solution," he said when asked about U.S. President Donald
Trump's decision to send Navy warships to the region in response to North Korea's
continued missile tests and threats to launch nuclear strikes against South
Korea, Japan and the United States.
"What do you say to these leaders who hold
responsibility for the future of humanity," the pope was asked, during a Q-and-A
with journalists on the flight to Rome April 29 after a 27-hour trip to Cairo.
"I will call on them. I'm going to call on them like
I have called on the leaders of different places," he said.
There are many facilitators and mediators around the
world who are "always ready to help" with negotiations, the pope
The situation in North Korea, he added, has been heated
for a long time, "but now it seems it has heated up too much, no?"
"I always call (for) resolving problems through the
diplomatic path, negotiations" because the future of humanity depends on
it, he said.
Pope Francis said his contention that the Third World War
already is underway and is being fought "piecemeal" also can be seen
in places where there are internal conflicts like in the Middle East, Yemen and
parts of Africa.
"Let's stop. Let's look for a diplomatic
solution," he said. "And there, I believe that the United Nations has
a duty to regain its leadership (role) a bit because it has been watered down."
When asked if he would want to meet with President Trump when the
U.S. leader is in Italy in late May, the pope said, "I have not been
informed yet by the (Vatican) secretary of state about a request being
But he added, "I receive every head of state who
asks for an audience."
A journalist with German media asked the pope about the
controversy he sparked April 22 for saying some refugee camps are like
"For us Germans obviously that is a very, very
serious term. People say it was a slip of the tongue. What did you want to say?"
the reporter asked.
"No, it was not a slip of the tongue," Pope
Francis said, adding that there are some refugee camps in the world -- but
definitely not in Germany -- that "are real concentration camps."
When centers are built to lock people up, where there is
nothing to do and they can't leave, that, he said, "is a lager."
Another reporter asked how people should interpret his
speeches to government officials when he calls on them to support peace,
harmony and equality for all citizens, and whether it reflected him supporting
The pope said that with all 18 trips he has taken to
various countries during his pontificate, he always hears the same concern.
However, when it comes to local politics, "I do not
get involved," he said.
"I talk about values," he said, and then it is
up to each individual to look and judge whether this particular government or
nation or person is "delivering these values."
When asked if he had had a chance to run off to see the
pyramids, the pope said, "Well, you know that today at six in this morning
two of my assistants went to see" them.
When asked if he wished he had gone with them, too, the
pope said, "Ah, yes."