Taiwan: Government Plays Down Report about Vatican Launching Ties With China
Taiwan on Sunday played down a news report saying the Vatican is ready to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognize China, claiming Taipei-Vatican ties are 'normal.'
'The report is not correct. What we know is that there are still obstacles in the Vatican's talks on opening ties China,' Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Ching-long told reporters.
'The Vatican has assured us that it will keep us informed about its talks with China. Our ties with the Vatican are normal,' he said.
On Saturday, the Vatican's foreign minister Giovanni Lajolo told Hong Kong's I-Cable TV that time is ripe for the Vatican and China to establish ties.
Lajolo said the Vatican has made various contacts with China and is ready to move the embassy from Taipei to China because the spiritual needs of millions of Chinese Catholics is more important than the needs of 300,000 Taiwan Catholics.
Opening ties with China has been one of the main tasks of Pope Benedict since he succeeded Pope John Paul II as the 265th pontiff on April 19 last year.
On Friday, Pope Benedict ordained 15 new cardinals, including Hong Kong Bishop Joseph Zen. Analysts see Zen's appointment as the Vatican's expression of support for China's Catholics and a goodwill gesture towards Beijing.
The Vatican moved its embassy from China to Taipei in 1957 due to China's
persecution of Chinese Catholics. In recent years the Vatican has expressed
the wish to reopen ties with China, but China has set two conditions: the
Vatican must not interfere in China's domestic affairs - that it must allow
Beijing to appoint bishops - and must cut ties with Taipei first.