Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 4 News List

New ambassador to the Holy See presents credentials

CNA , VATICAN CITY

Taiwan Ambassador Tou Chou-seng (杜筑生) presented his credentials to Pope John Paul II Friday, a move which a Holy See official said heralded a new era in bilateral relations.

According to the official, Tou's quick submission of his credentials to the Pope just 19 days after his arrival in the Vatican -- is an indication that formal ties between the two diplomatic allies remain smooth and cordial.

The Pope encouraged the Taiwan people to make greater contributions to moral, cultural developments and religious freedom across the world in conjunction with the Holy See to help promote global peace, justice, human welfare and international cooperation, the official said.

It was the Pope's strongest message to the country, the official said, adding that the Pope's proposal represents an advanced relationship between Taiwan and the Vatican -- the island's sole diplomatic partner in Europe.

Commenting on ties between the Holy See and China, the official, who is a long-term observer of Taiwan-Holy See relations, pointed out that the Vatican has always hoped to open dialogue and normalize its links with China despite its long and solid relations with Taiwan.

The Holy See is always seeking to set up relations with other countries, particularly those with different ideologies, as part of its efforts to create the maximum benefits for all human beings, the official noted.

The Pope hailed Taiwan's achievements in a wide range of areas, including its full protection of and respect for religious freedom. He also gave a thumbs up to Taiwan's remarkable achievements in promoting humanitarian missions in the international arena and called for concerted efforts from Taiwan to bolster peace and harmony in the world.

On behalf of the government, Tou gave his assurances that Taiwan will do its utmost to assist countries and people in need around the globe.

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