Card. Zuppi in China. Vatican: 'Paths of dialogue'. Silence from Beijing
On a peace mission for Ukraine entrusted to him by Pope Francis, the Italian cardinal met with his Chinese "counterpart" Li Hui. The Holy See's statement said talks also addressed the problem of food safety, “with the hope that the export of grain can soon be guaranteed, especially to the countries most at risk.” No statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. But from Moscow Lavrov announces possibility of the cardinal going to Russia.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - No official statement from the People's Republic of China on the meeting that took place yesterday between Card. Matteo Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and the special representative for Eurasian affairs of the Beijing government Li Hui.
But the mission of Pope Francis' special envoy to "find paths that lead to peace" in Ukraine continues. And a probable new stop for the cardinal in Moscow has been announced.
While the cardinal is returning to Italy, in the daily press conference held by the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Mao Ning, today there was no mention of the meeting with the Vatican representative which took place yesterday in Beijing.
Neither the news appears today nor on the pro-government Global Times website, nor on the Xinhua and China Daily websites. There is no mention even on the website of the official bodies of Chinese Catholics, confirming Beijing's desire to keep plans separate between diplomatic contacts with the Vatican and the life of the Church in China.
As announced by Mao Ning herself two days ago, Card. Zuppi met Li Hui, former ambassador to Moscow and protagonist of a mission similar to that of the Italian cardinal which had led him in the spring to contacts with Moscow and Kiev on the basis of the vague 12-point peace plan presented by Beijing. A meeting between "counterparts", therefore, according to the provisions of the Chinese protocol.
For now, the only news on the contents of the face-to-face meeting are those released by the Vatican: "The meeting took place in an open and cordial atmosphere - reads the note issued last night by the Holy See Press Office, when it was already night in Beijing - was dedicated to the war in Ukraine and its dramatic consequences, underlining the need to unite efforts to foster dialogue and find paths that lead to peace. The problem of food safety was also addressed, with the hope that the export of grain can soon be guaranteed, especially to the countries most at risk".
In the meantime, however, news has arrived from Russia of a probable further trip by Cardinal Zuppi.
In a statement released to Russian agencies, Foreign Minister Serghei Lavrov announced that "the Pope's envoy for Ukraine is planning a trip to Moscow" and the Russian authorities are "ready" to speak with him. It is interesting that it is Lavrov himself who talks about it: on the occasion of Card. Zuppi's last trip to Moscow he was not received by the head of diplomacy, but by the Kremlin's foreign policy advisor, Yuri Ushakov.
The further stop in Moscow of Pope Francis' envoy could be linked to humanitarian initiatives for the issue of Ukrainian children transferred to Russia and the fate of the two priests Ivan Levytskyi and Bohdan Heleta, prisoners of the Russians, whose case was raised by Greek-Catholic Synod during the recent meeting in Rome with Pope Francis.