02/23/2006, 00.00
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Card. Cheong: "Seoul, Manila and Hong Kong together for Asia evangelization"

The new Korean cardinal, the first after 37 years, told AsiaNews: "Zen and Rosales are my longtime friends: I will work with them for the evangelization of the continent." He underlined other goals: "Improved ties with Pyongyang and commitment to the poor."

Seoul (AsiaNews) – The new cardinals of Hong Kong and Manila "are long-time friends to who I wish to extend my heartiest congratulations; I am sure we will work together for the evangelization and well being of the Asian continent," said the Archbishop of Seoul, Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk. The new Korean cardinal was speaking to AsiaNews about the appointments made public by the Pope in yesterday's audience, the feast of the Chair of St Peter.

"I thank the Holy Father for making me a cardinal, but I also wish to thank all those who, in various ways, enabled me to come to this point," he said. "I will do my best to follow the directions the Pope will see fit to give to the nation. I pray for him every day.

 "I am committed to improving and extending ties between the two Koreas, but I also intend to continue to work on the earlier social goals of the Church, like poverty and the social gap."

The Cardinal, the first South Korean one in 37 years, continued: "Besides leading the archdiocese of Seoul, I am apostolic administrator of Pyongyang: the current South Korean government is striving to improves ties in the peninsula and I intend to work with them as much as possible, to attain a genuine expansion of inter-Korean ties, completed with reunification."

Soon after the announcement, the prelate met his predecessor as leader of Seoul, Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, who delivered his "heartiest congratulations for the appointment". "I will seek to follow his tracks, those of a great leader of the Korean church".

Pictured above are the new Cardinal Cheong and Cardinal Kim (to the right)

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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”