World Bulletin / News Desk
It will be the first trip of its kind since the recent improvement of relations between the Koreas, as the neighbors’ leaders met twice in April and May.
Ven. Cheondam is also a member of the World Peace Foundation based in Seoul.
According to the South’s Unification Ministry cited by local news agency Yonhap, the monk will begin his five-day trip to the North from this Saturday.
Ordinary South Koreans need permission to travel to North Korea, as a closely guarded border has remained a rarely penetrated barrier since a cease-fire brought the Korean War to an uneasy close in 1953.
Not only does Cheondam’s trip represent a meaningful step for efforts to boost inter-Korean civilian exchanges, but it will also come just days after the U.S. condemned the North’s absence of religious freedom in an annual State Department report.
The North Korean state effectively controls Buddhist and church institutions within the country, but monks and priests based in the South have been allowed to carry out aid and other activities under supervision.