Pope may visit S. Korea as part of possible 2015 trip to Asia: Vatican

Pope Francis may visit South Korea next summer as part of a possible trip to Asia, a Vatican spokesman said on Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Pope Francis may visit South Korea next summer as part of a possible trip to Asia, a Vatican spokesman said on Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Francis may visit South Korea next summer as part of a possible trip to Asia, a Vatican spokesman said on Wednesday.

"I can confirm that a trip to South Korea is being considered. The pope has been invited by the authorities there," spokesman Federico Lombardi said, adding that the trip "could take place towards mid-August, but not this year".

Pope Francis has already tipped Asia as a possible destination, because his predecessor Benedict XVI did not travel there during his eight-year pontificate and evangelisation in the continent is a big priority for the Vatican.

"A trip to Asia is under consideration but nothing is yet fixed or certain," fellow Vatican spokesman Ciro Benedettini said, without specifying what other stops Francis could make on the voyage.

There have been reports of invitations for Pope Francis to visit the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

The only upcoming confirmed trip on Pope Francis's programme is a three-day visit to the Middle East in May, where he will travel to Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.