Oct 17, 2018

Taiwan: Pope Francis to Visit the Country

Weeks after the signature of an agreement between the Vatican and Beijing that has raised concerns that the Holy See might switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, Chen Chien-jen, Vice President of Taiwan, declared that Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to visit the country next year. During the meeting, Vatican officials have recognized the efforts made by Taiwan on humanitarian and charitable programs and Chen has restated the willingness of Taiwan to continue to promote religious freedom and world peace based on universal values of democracy, freedom and human rights.

The article below was published by Focus Taiwan

Taipei, Oct. 16 [2018] (CNA) Pope Francis has responded favorably to an invitation to visit Taiwan, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said Tuesday upon his return from a trip to the Holy See.

The main purpose of the trip was to attend the canonization ceremony for Pope Paul VI, El Salvador's Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero and five others on Oct. 14 [2018].

During a meeting with Pope Francis before the ceremony, Chen extended an invitation on behalf of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for the pope to visit Taiwan next year during a scheduled trip to Japan.

The invitation received "a cordial and amicable response" from the pope, Chen told reporters upon his arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, without elaborating.

Chen said he also met with the delegates of other countries and held discussions with several high-ranking Vatican officials on humanitarian and charitable programs promoted jointly by Taiwan and the Holy See in recent years.

The Vatican officials expressed their appreciation for the contributions and efforts made by Taiwan and praised Taiwan as an "important partner" of the Holy See in humanitarian and charitable efforts, according to Chen.

He pledged that the Republic of China (Taiwan) will continue its role as an indispensable partner of the Holy See and other countries in promoting religious freedom and world peace, based on the universal values of democracy, freedom and human rights.

It was the second time that Chen was attending a canonization ceremony in the Vatican since he became vice president in 2016.

The visit came only weeks after the Vatican and Beijing signed a historic provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops in China.

The signing of the agreement on Sept. 22 [2018] gave rise to concerns in some quarters that it would lead to the Vatican switching diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons