Fri, Sep 28, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Vatican ties ‘stable,’ but foreign ministry watchful

By Yimou Lee  /  Reuters, TAIPEI

Taiwan yesterday said its relationship with the Vatican is stable, although it would closely watch what it described as “suppression” by China following a landmark deal between Beijing and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops on China.

The Vatican has signed an agreement giving it a long-desired say in the appointment of bishops in China, triggering worries among some officials in Taiwan that the Vatican could switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

The Holy See is the nation’s last remaining diplomatic ally in Europe.

“We will closely watch the suppression and calculations from China,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told reporters in response to comments from Beijing that it wanted to deepen ties with the Vatican.

“The Taiwan-Vatican relations are stable,” he said, adding that Taiwan has been assisting the Vatican in renovating its embassy in Taipei, the Apostolic Nunciature on Aiguo E Road, using that as an example of the stable ties.

Critics have labeled the Vatican accord with China as a sellout to the Communist government, with Cardinal Jospeh Zen (陳日君), the former archbishop of Hong Kong, describing it as “an incredible betrayal.”

Since the deal was signed on Saturday last week, the Vatican has not mentioned Taiwan.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis urged China’s leaders to move ahead with “trust, courage and farsightedness” and called on Chinese Catholics to not shrink from offering “a word of criticism” when necessary to defend human dignity.

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