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Vatican promises continued commitment to partnership with Taiwan

The Vatican, Oct. 5 (CNA) The Vatican said Thursday that it will remain committed to its partnership with the Republic of China (Taiwan), as the two sides mark their 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations this month.
In a speech at a banquet to celebrate ROC National Day, Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher said the Vatican will support any constructive dialogue that Taiwan holds with other countries on world peace and for the ultimate benefit of humanity.
Since Taiwan and the Holy See, the seat of government in Vatican City, established formal diplomatic ties in 1942, the bilateral friendship and cooperative relations have remained solid despite many changes in the world, as most foreign Catholic priests and nuns serving in Taiwan have observed, Gallagher said.
He also thanked the Taiwan Catholic church for its longstanding contribution to the Vatican, which he said cares very much about the church's development in Taiwan.
The Vatican will remain a committed partner of Taiwan's, Gallagher said, in an apparent response to wide speculation that the Holy See might switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, particularly after Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun (陳日君), Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, said recently that Taiwan should be prepared for such a move.
At the banquet, Matthew S.M. Lee (李世明), the ROC's ambassador to the Holy See, said Taiwan is doing its best to function as a peacemaker in the Asian region.
"Although cross-Taiwan Strait relations are not perfect, Taiwan can do much more than the world can imagine," Lee said. "We are not only trying to maintain peace and stability in the region, but are also trying to encourage mainland China to play a respectful role as a major power."
He said Taiwan treasures its 75 years of relations with the Vatican and that their shared values of religious freedom and world peace are a solid foundation on which to further build bilateral cooperation.
Among Taiwan's 20 diplomatic allies, the Holy See is the only one in Europe.