China sincere in improving Vatican ties: FM
Updated: 2006-05-10 09:26
China said it was eager to improve relations with the Vatican following a
feud over the consecration of Chinese bishops without papal approval, but it
demanded Tuesday that the Holy See break ties with Taiwan.
"The Chinese side is sincere in improving relations with the Vatican side and
are willing to work together with the Vatican side," said Foreign Ministry
spokesman Liu Jianchao. "We also urge the Vatican to adopt the correct way in
handling the question of Taiwan."
China's ordination of two bishops last week without the approval of Pope
Benedict XVI angered the Vatican, which warned that those who took part might
The clash set back recent efforts by Benedict to reach out to Beijing in
hopes of forming official relations. Vatican officials earlier indicated they
were considering cutting diplomatic ties with Taipei to pave the way for that to
Liu criticized the Holy See for not informing China that it was opposed to
the appointments sooner.
"Recently, we have informed the Vatican side on the decision to appoint these
bishops but the Vatican side did not respond but made wanton accusations after
the consecrations," he said.
Liu defended China's practice of picking its own Catholic bishops, saying the
more than 170 bishops and archbishops selected that way over the past 50 years
"made valuable contributions to the development of Chinese religious affairs."
There was no new reaction from the Vatican. However, the Vatican has made
clear on several occasions it is ready to shift its diplomatic representation
from Taiwan to Beijing.
The foreign minister, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, said in March that the
"time is ripe" for the Holy See and Beijing to establish diplomatic relations.
In addition, the Vatican made clear in its original reaction to the
consecration of the two bishops that it wanted to continue "honest and
constructive dialogue" with China "to find solutions that would satisfy the
legitimate needs of both parties."