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ROC-Vatican relations reaffirmed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Republic of China (Taiwan) government anticipates enhanced exchanges with the Holy See in ensuring religious freedom and harmony while establishing the nation as a regional model in this regard, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jan. 25.
Taiwan’s vibrant Catholic churches and congregations underscore the success of government efforts to advance democracy and safeguard human rights, MOFA spokesman Andrew H. C. Lee said. These accomplishments are highly recognized by the Holy See, he added.
Lee said the health of bilateral ties is reflected by frequent collaboration and exchanges between agencies and charity organizations from the two sides at a number of international events co-hosted by the Vatican in Taiwan over the past few years.
The MOFA remarks follow media reports earlier this month that the Holy See and mainland China have reached consensus on the appointment of bishops.
According to Lee, the ministry has been briefed by the Vatican regarding its interactions with mainland China and is closely observing developments. As a nonsecular state with evangelization its foreign policy priority, the Holy See is deeply concerned with the welfare of Catholics on the other side of the strait, he added.
ROC Ambassador to the Holy See Matthew S. M. Lee said it is his understanding that the Vatican needs to engage with mainland Chinese authorities to ease the suffering of those attending underground churches in mainland China.
The ambassador believes dialogue between the Vatican and mainland China is in line with God’s will and reflects efforts by the Holy See in advocating religious freedom in mainland China.
According to the MOFA, in keeping with the universal values of freedom and peace, the ROC will continue bolstering relations with the Holy See through reciprocal high-level visits and religious exchanges, as well as participating in Vatican-organized international activities.
At the same time, the ROC is committed to providing humanitarian aid in partnership with the Vatican, and acting as an indispensable member of the international community in promoting benevolence and advocating world peace, the MOFA said.
The ROC and Holy See established diplomatic relations in 1942 and cooperate in a variety of areas like culture, education and humanitarian aid. Examples include the hosting of the World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea last October in Kaohsiung City, southern Taiwan, and the signing of a memorandum of understanding on strengthening cooperation in combating money laundering, terrorism financing and associated offenses in May the same year. (SFC-E)

(Courtesy of Taiwan Today,