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(LEAD) Yoon meets with Buddhist, Christian leaders to seek advice after Itaewon tragedy

All News 20:18 November 08, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES details throughout)

SEOUL, Nov. 8 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol met privately with Buddhist and Christian leaders on Tuesday to seek their advice on how to help the nation emerge from the tragedy of the Itaewon crowd crush, his office said.

Yoon visited Bongeun Temple in southern Seoul in the morning to meet with Buddhist leaders, and then had a lunch meeting with Christian elders in the presidential office in Yongsan, his aides said.

At least 156 people were killed in the crowd surge on a narrow street of the popular nightlife district of Itaewon in Seoul during Halloween celebrations on Oct. 29.

During the meeting with the Buddhist leaders, including Ven. Jaseung and Ven. Jagwang of the Jogye Order, South Korea's largest Buddhist sect, Yoon expressed his hopes that the religious leaders would give encouragement and strength to people following the disaster, according to the presidential office.

The senior monks advised Yoon to provide sufficient explanation to the nation about the tragedy and focus on mending the disaccord and restoring national unity.

In this photo provided by the presidential office, President Yoon Suk-yeol converses with Ven. Jaseung of the Jogye Order, South Korea's largest Buddhist sect, at Bongeun Temple in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In this photo provided by the presidential office, President Yoon Suk-yeol converses with Ven. Jaseung of the Jogye Order, South Korea's largest Buddhist sect, at Bongeun Temple in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"Every dawn, we pray to God to show us hope from dispair," Yang Byung-hwi, the board chair of the Korean Bible Society, was quoted as telling the president during the lunch meeting.

The meetings came after Yoon attended Buddhist, Protestant and Catholic memorial services for the victims over the weekend.

The presidential office said Yoon will continue to meet with religious elders for their advice on how to help the people overcome a national tragedy and unite and stand again through comfort and encouragement.

Yoon plans to meet with other faith leaders in the future as part of that effort, an official of the presidential office said.

In this photo provided by the presidential office, President Yoon Suk-yeol (C) and Christian leaders say grace at the luncheon meeting held in the presidential office in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In this photo provided by the presidential office, President Yoon Suk-yeol (C) and Christian leaders say grace at the luncheon meeting held in the presidential office in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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