The Vatican has issued a statement saying that Pope Francis is not making plans to visit Taiwan, after Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) reiterated an invitation to the pontiff during his recent visit to Vatican City.
After arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Tuesday from a trip to the Vatican, Chen told reporters that the pontiff had “a cordial and amicable response” to the invitation he extended during a meeting with Francis before a canonization ceremony on Sunday.
While it is routine for world leaders to invite the pope to visit when they meet, it is rare for the Vatican to announce a visit is not being planned.
Yesterday’s statement came on the same day that South Korean officials said the pope had expressed willingness to visit North Korea, and just weeks after the Vatican announced a breakthrough deal with China.
Taiwan fears that improving relations with China could cause the Vatican, the only European state to recognize Taiwan, to break diplomatic ties
The Vatican has indicated the accord signed with China on Sept. 22 covering the appointment of bishops in China has no bearing on its diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
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