Taekwondo athlethes from South Korea perform for Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Taekwondo athlethes from South Korea perform for Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Korean unity at Vatican? Not so fast, but pope cheers anyway

Pope Francis thanked the athletes for their exhibition “which was a show of the will for peace, the two Koreas together.”

South Korean taekwondo athletes have performed for Pope Francis, after a planned show of Korean unity at the Vatican fell apart when the North pulled out at the last minute.

Pope Francis didn’t seem to notice or mind, thanking the athletes Wednesday for their exhibition “which was a show of the will for peace, the two Koreas together.”

South Korea’s World Taekwondo organization, the Seoul-led international body, said last week that a demonstration team from the North withdrew from the performance over the U.S.-South Korean military drills.

The performance had been planned to ceremonially open the World Taekwondo’s Grand Prix competition this week in Rome.

The South’s team performed for thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square and featured a young girl releasing a dove in a sign of peace.

Related: South Korea to remove propaganda loudspeakers at border

Related: North Korea demolishes nuke test site with series of blasts

The Associated Press

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