Ties between Taiwan and the Vatican remain firm, said foreign ministry spokeswoman Katharine Chang (
"Our ties with the Vatican are very firm," Chang said in a press conference.
Chang's remark came after the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review this week reported that a series of meetings scheduled for next month would end decades of antagonism between Beijing and the Holy See, and "even pave the way for the establishment of full diplomatic relations."
The process is to begin on Oct. 14 with a four-day seminar in Beijing marking the 400th anniversary of the start of Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci's mission to China, the magazine said.
A similar ceremony would take place in Rome on Oct. 24 and 25, where Pope John Paul would offer some form of apology for the historical wrongs of the Catholic Church in China, particularly its close connection with European imperialism, the report said.
"The seminars have no direct connection to ties between Taiwan and the Vatican. Furthermore, mainland China and the Holy See have different stances on religion," Chang said.
Chang's Chinese counterpart, Zhu Bangzao (
Zhu also said that the Vatican would have to cut ties with Taipei before normalizing relations with Beijing.
The Vatican broke ties with Beijing in the 1950s, after Beijing nominated two bishops without Rome's approval. Beijing in recent years has cited Rome's recognition of the Catholic Church in Taiwan as the main impediment to the normalization of ties.