Vatican wants to upgrade relations with China, top cardinal says

Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Secretary of State of Vatican City

© APA | Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Secretary of State of Vatican City

# 21 May 2024 19:36 (UTC +04:00)

The Vatican would like to establish a permanent office in China in what would be a major upgrade of diplomatic relations with Beijing, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said on Tuesday, APA reports citing Reuters.

Relations between the Vatican and communist China have historically been fraught, but Pope Francis has made it a priority to normalise them, building on a landmark 2018 pact on appointing bishops.

"We have been hoping for a long time to be able to have a stable presence in China," Parolin, who is Francis' deputy, said, adding the Vatican could consider new diplomatic formulas for it.

The Vatican obtained permission last year to have a Resident Papal Representative in Vietnam, another Communist-run country with which it does not have diplomatic relations. Parolin suggested a China envoy might take a different title.

"The form (of it) can be different, let's not fixate on only one way," he said.

The cardinal said the Vatican's recognition of the Council of Chinese Bishops - which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party - was also on the agenda, and a "work in progress."

Parolin spoke at a Vatican-hosted conference on the Catholic Church in China which offered a rare platform for high-level talks between the two sides.