Beijing and the Vatican resuming talks: report

Beijing and the Vatican resuming talks: report
Pope Francis holds his Papal ferula as he arrives to celebrate Pentecost Mass on June 8, 2014 in Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post (SCMP, 南華早報) yesterday reported that Beijing and the Vatican are in preparations to resume their long stalled talks after changes in leadership on both sides.

The SCMP reported that a person close to the Holy See said "The atmosphere is quite positive for both sides to restart the dialogue now." The news also stated that the meeting is likely to happen this year, with the Vatican currently waiting for Beijing to confirm a time and location. Pope Francis was said to have high hopes that he could make headway on the relationship.

The resumed talks will be the first time both sides have communicated since 2010, as Beijing had damaged what the newspaper had called an "improving relationship" as a result of China's unilateral ordination of bishops, which is the one issue the Vatican has insisted be addressed before any formal ties could be established, the SCMP reported, which could cause complications to the meeting.

Another potential complication to the talks is the recent mass demolition of over 60 Catholic and Protestant churches last month. Reportedly, the Vatican stated that the demolitions are likely a result of isolated policies of the local government of Wenzhou where the demolitions took place.

MOFA Response

Following the SCMP report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) stated that the relationship between Taiwan and the Vatican remains strong. Not only are interactions between the two nations frequent, MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) stated, but both President Ma Ying-jeou and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) had visited the Vatican at different times in the last two years.

The president had visited the Vatican to attend the papal inauguration of Pope Francis, said Kao, while the vice president had lead a delegation to attend the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II in April.

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