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Lawmakers warn of breakthrough in Vatican-China ties

2018/01/24 14:46:06

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) Legislators across party lines in Taiwan called on the government Wednesday to come up with response measures after the Vatican reportedly made concessions to China on the appointment of bishops -- a significant breakthrough for advancing mutual relations between the two sides.

The Holy See has asked two Chinese bishops to stand aside to make way for Chinese government-backed counterparts as part of a deal between the Holy See and the Chinese government, Asia News, the official outlet of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, reported Tuesday.

The Holy See has sent a delegation to China that asked two bishops recognized by the Holy See to step aside and yield their dioceses to bishops appointed by Beijing, according to the report.

Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that if China and the Vatican have actually reached consensus on episcopal appointments -- a significant breakthrough for advancing mutual relations -- this should serve as a warning to Taiwan.

Asked whether the move could create a domino effect on Taiwan's diplomatic allies with large Catholic populations, Lo said it will not necessarily create a chain reaction, but could have an impact on Taiwan's diplomatic relations with its allies that have Catholic majorities.

Opposition Kuomintang Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said that the consensus could be a diplomatic crisis facing Taiwan and called on the government to put related response measures in place.

Meanwhile, opposition New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) encouraged the Vatican to pursue dual recognition of the administrations on either side of the Taiwan Strait by maintaining diplomatic ties with Taiwan, while protecting the rights of Catholics in China.

Lawmaker Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) of the opposition People First Party said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must watch out for a potential diplomatic setback from the Holy See's shift of diplomatic allegiance to China.

The Vatican is the only European state among Taiwan's 20 diplomatic allies.

(By Liu Kuan-ting, Chen Chun-hua, Wang Cheng-chung and Evelyn Kao)
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