(www.news.monstersandcritics.com) вЂ" South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun was expected at the Vatican on Thursday for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, the first engagement of his two-day visit to Italy.
Diplomatic sources said the meeting was expected to centre on improved cooperation between South Korea and the Holy See. About a quarter of the South Korean population is Christian, reports Trend.
Roh was also expected to ask the 79-year-old pontiff to back Seoul's efforts to promote peace on the Korean peninsula.
The meeting at the Vatican comes just hours after North and South Korea agreed to resume ministerial-level reconciliation talks following seven months of stalled negotiations.
The decision came on the back of an agreement aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear programme forged on Tuesday with South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia. Pyongyang pledged to disable a key nuclear facility in return for energy aid and other concessions.
The latest developments on North Korea's nuclear programme were expected to feature high on Roh's agenda during meetings Friday with his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
Roh has just completed a three-day visit to Spain, the first by a South Korean head of state since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1950.