Pope Francis. Pic: AP.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Pope Francis has arrived in South Korea on a visit meant to beatify 124 Korean martyrs and encourage the faithful in a church seen as a model for the future of Catholicism.

Francis’ plane touched down Thursday in the first papal visit to South Korea in a quarter century. President Park Geun-hye and other officials greeted the pope when he stepped off the plane.

A highlight of the pope’s five-day visit will be his participation in a Catholic youth festival. He’ll also celebrate a Mass for peace on the war-divided Korean Peninsula.

The pope is also expected to meet with family members of victims of a South Korean ferry tragedy.

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