The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is continuing to communicate with the Vatican as the diplomatic ally improves its relations with Beijing, a ministry official said yesterday, after the Global Times on Sunday published an interview with a Vatican cardinal.
The Vatican is one of Taiwan’s 17 allies and the only one in Europe, and the improvement of Vatican-China relations has drawn speculation about a possible change in diplomatic ties.
After the Vatican and China signed a provisional agreement on Sept. 22 last year, “the channels of communication are working well. There are elements which demonstrate an increased trust between the two sides,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said in an interview published in the English-language Global Times.
“Of course, not all problems have been resolved. Many questions still need to be addressed and we are facing them with willingness and determination,” Parolin said.
The ministry pays close attention to Vatican-China relations, Department of European Affairs Director-General Johnson Chiang (姜森) told a weekly news conference.
The Holy See has said that its interactions with China are limited to religious affairs, Chiang said, adding that the ministry would continue its dialogue with the Vatican.
Taiwan-Vatican relations are stable and it is the global community’s hope that China would improve its performance in religious freedom and human rights, ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said.
However, Beijing has been tightening its controls on dissidents and minorities, a fact that the Holy See must have noticed, Lee said.
Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on Monday said on Twitter that the US’ “one China” policy is not equal to Beijing’s “one China” principle, as it retweeted a Global Times report titled “China Slams US bills on Taiwan.”
The US Congress has supported Taiwan for decades and would continue to carry out its commitments under the US’ Taiwan Relations Act in a manner consistent with its “six assurances,” it wrote.
The US has been consistent in its interpretation of “one China,” Lee said when asked for comment.
US representatives across party lines have reaffirmed support for Taiwan with concrete action and language, he said, adding that Taiwan appreciates their help and is continuing to deepen bilateral relations.
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