Taiwan is not opposed to dialogue between the Vatican and China based on human rights and religious freedom, the Presidential Office said Monday, amid reports that the two have taken a major step toward ending their six-decade estrangement.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Vatican and China have reached a consensus on the appointment of cardinals, heralding better relations between the two sides.
The Vatican currently has diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) rather than Beijing and is Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Europe and one of only 22 allies around the world.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (???) said Taiwan is "not opposed" to the dialogue between the Vatican and China based on human rights and religious freedom, contending that diplomacy is not a zero-sum game.
"From our perspective, the most important thing is to continue to maintain our long and stable diplomatic relations," Huang said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Vatican is not a secular country, and its external relations focus on pastoral matters and the gospel.
It has therefore been very concerned about the treatment of Christians in China's underground churches, and its officially sanctioned churches there have not been able to be integrated with the Vatican.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin told visiting Taiwanese vice president Chen Chien-jen (???) in the Vatican in early September that the Vatican has to engage in dialogue with China to spread the gospel and pursue its pastoral mission.
Bilateral dialogue has been confined to church affairs and has not touched on political and diplomatic affairs, according to what Perolin told the vice president, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, lawmakers said China and the Vatican have begun a normalization process, but whether the Vatican will sever ties with Taiwan and establish relations with China remains to be seen.
The lawmakers asked the government to stay on top of the situation and come up with a contingency plan.
Tang Te-ming (???), deputy director of the main opposition Kuomintang Culture and Communications Commission, said the Foreign Ministry has said the Vatican-China dialogue will not affect diplomatic ties with Taiwan, and the KMT hopes the ministry will not let the people down.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel