The group, formed by members of the Korean Conference of Religions for Peace (KCRP), were sent from Seoul to Pyongyang, via China, on a four-day visit.

This visit "could have an important function in improving relations between the two countries," said Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-jong of Kwangju, president of the KCRP.

The religious leaders intend "to take to North Korea a message of peace of the religions and thus contribute to open a path to reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas," they pointed out in a joint statement.

According to Eglises d'Asie, the news agency of the Foreign Missions of Paris, the program included a series of visits on Thursday to places that are representative of different religions.

Scheduled for today was a time of prayer for peace on Mount Baekdu, regarded as the cradle of Korean civilization. The group returns to Seoul on Saturday.