Seoul (AsiaNews) - For the first time in the history of papal trips, a pope has been given permission to fly over Chinese airspace. And, as is routine, sent a telegram to the government. Addressed "To His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the Republic of China, Beijing," the text reads: "Upon entering the airspace of China, I extend my best wishes to your excellency and your fellow citizens, and I invoke the divine blessing of peace and well-being on the nation. Franciscus PP".
A few hours earlier, flying over the area under the control of Moscow, the Pope sent a telegram to President Putin: "As I enter into Russian airspace, sending his Excellency and his fellow citizens my best wishes. I invoke Divine blessings on you all, praying that Almighty God may grant the nation peace and well-being".
The texts sent to Mongolia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia were practically identical. Instead the one sent to President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano, was a little more articulated: "The moment I leave Rome to go to Korea to support the mission of the local church and bring a message of hope to the entire population, I would like to send you, Mr. President, my respectful greetings, which I accompany with fervent wishes for the spiritual, civil and social well-being of the Italian people, upon whom I willingly bestow an apostolic blessing".
During the flight to Korea, the Pope also recalled Simone Camilli, the young journalist and videoreporter killed yesterday in Gaza due to the explosion of an Israeli missile. Camilli, father of a child of 3 years and a partner of a Dutch colleague, was filming operations to defuse the bomb by a Palestinian bomb squad. The rocket, however, had a hidden device that made it lethal even on being dismantled. According to some sources from the Strip, "these are made to cause fatalities at all times".
Praying for him along with the journalists on the plane, Pope Francis said: "A Prayer for Simone Camilli, one of 'your own' who died today in service. Let us pray in silence. Such are the consequences of war. Thank you for your service. Thank you for everything you do, this will be no holiday but very challenging. Your words always helps to unite the world and so make sure they are words that convey a message of peace".(VFP)