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Rick Warren to Meet South Korean President amid Tensions with North

SAN FRANCISCO – Purpose Driven Pastor Rick Warren will meet South Korea’s president, Roh Moo Hyun, for a casual breakfast Friday morning in San Francisco, following up on their initial encounter in Se
( [email protected] ) Sep 15, 2006 05:34 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO – Purpose Driven Pastor Rick Warren will meet South Korea’s president, Roh Moo Hyun, for a casual breakfast Friday morning in San Francisco, following up on their initial encounter in Seoul earlier this year.

According to the South Korean Consulate, the two men will convene at an undisclosed location for a "private meeting, not open to the press." Calls to Warren’s office requesting information on the content of their meeting were not immediately returned.

Their meeting comes at a time of heightened international concern over Pyongyang’s possible testing of nuclear arms and the souring of relations within the Korean peninsula.

On Friday, one day after President Roh’s meeting with President George W. Bush, North Korea warned that relations with its southern neighbor are heading toward "irreversible breakdown" because of Seoul’s alleged "chiming in with outside forces seeking to impose sanctions" against the reclusive country.

"South Korea is blindly following outside forces taking a hostile policy against the DPRK (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) to the detriment of inter-Korean ties," said Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Korean Workers Party.

It is not certain whether such talks about nuclear proliferation will surface at today’s breakfast gathering. However, with Rev. Warren’s invitation to hold a Christian rally in Pyongyang next March, relations with the North will likely generate common interest for the two men.

Earlier this year, Warren explained that the church in South Korea has encouraged him to "take any opportunity [he could] to speak in North Korea." He also said he "will go anywhere [he is] invited to preach the Gospel."

"My hope is that these visits will promote religious freedom in a country where the practice of individual faiths has been tightly controlled and virtually prohibited since 1945," he said.