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Taipei archbishop dismisses speculation about China-Vatican ties

2018/02/03 17:36:15

John Hung Shan-chuan (洪山川)

Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) Dialogue between the Holy See and China, especially regarding the appointment of Chinese bishops, does not mean that the two countries will establish diplomatic ties, Archbishop of Taipei John Hung Shan-chuan (洪山川) said Saturday, commenting on media reports of a significant breakthrough in China-Vatican ties.

Reuters reported Thursday that a framework accord between the two countries on the appointment of bishops in China was ready and "could be signed in a few months," citing an unnamed senior Vatican source.

The report said that even a partial resolution of that contentious issue could open the way for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and China.

Speaking with CNA on Saturday, however, Hung dismissed those claims, saying that the potential for Beijing and the Vatican to establish diplomatic relations make headlines every year but never end up being true.

Hung said the Holy See maintains diplomatic ties with countries based solely on shared values of freedom, democracy, and human rights, and Taiwan has been proactive in championing all those values.

Taiwan has put in a lot of effort and money into the humanitarian initiatives spearheaded by the Vatican, and Pope Francis has reciprocated by showing similar care for Taiwan, Hung said.

He said the Church would know if in fact something happening regarding the diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the Holy See, but currently there is no such information within the Church.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday that the recent China-Vatican talks had nothing to do with politics, and that the Taiwan government would continue to strengthen its ties with the Vatican and monitor the situation in Beijing.

China does not allow its diplomatic allies to maintain formal ties with Taiwan, which means that if the Vatican decides to switch sides, it would have to sever its diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

(By Lee Ming-zong and Kuan-lin Liu)