Taiwan closely monitoring report of China-Vatican breakthrough

Taipei, Taiwan is fully aware of dialogue between China and the Holy See, a government official said Thursday, amid media reports that the Vatican has made concessions to Beijing on the appointment of bishops in China -- which would be a significant breakthrough between the two sides.

Anna Kao (??), head of the Department of European Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters that the ministry is well aware of the ongoing dialogue between the Vatican and Beijing and said it will continue to closely monitor the latest developments.

Kao, however, would not comment on whether the two sides have indeed made a breakthrough on the matter.

Even if there is a breakthrough over such appointments, Kao said there remain huge differences between Beijing and the Vatican on various issues concerning religious freedom.

On the other hand, Taiwan has democracy and freedom, with a vibrant Catholic community, she added.

She stressed that Taiwan maintains close exchanges and communications with its only European diplomatic ally and that bilateral ties remain strong and stable.

The cordial relations are exemplified by frequent two-way visits by high-ranking officials over the years, she went on.

Aside from those exchanges, Taiwan and the Holy See also work closely on cultural exchanges and humanitarian assistance projects.

She made the comments in response to foreign media reports that the Holy See has asked two Chinese bishops to stand aside to make way for Chinese government-backed counterparts.

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 Asia News, the official outlet of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

Legislators across party lines in Taiwan have been calling on the government to come up with response measures in case the move creates a domino effect on Taiwan's diplomatic allies with large Catholic populations.

Source: Fucus Taiwan