Thu, Nov 10, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Vatican remarks nothing new: MOFA

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Recent remarks by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Sodano that the Holy See would soon switch ties to Beijing were merely a repetition of statements made in 1999 and reflect the Vatican's policy of promoting religious freedom worldwide, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

Director General of MOFA's Department of European Affairs Larry Wang (王豫元) said yesterday that Sodano's statement on Oct. 25 -- that the Vatican was ready to move its nuncio, or ambassador, from Taiwan to Beijing immediately -- matched exactly remarks he made in 1999 in an attempt to urge greater religious freedom in China.

Wang said Taiwan's ambassador to the Holy See has expressed concerns to the Vatican regarding why Sodano's repetition of the same statement, but has not received a formal response yet.

"Sodano made the remarks in response to a question from a reporter. It's a passive response, not a deliberate signal," Wang said.

Wang said the Vatican had broken off official communications with Beijing in 2000 and so far both sides had not resumed official contact.

"Perhaps it's because of the lack of an official communication channel that Sodano chose to make such remarks again," Wang said.

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