08/31/2016, 09.09
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Global Times: Obstacles and pessimism in China-Vatican relations

A signed article in the online international magazine of the People's Daily, the newspaper linked to the Beijing government, points out that there are still two main stubling blocks that hinder diplomatic relations: the appointment of bishops and the Taiwan question. According to analysts, China "is not in any hurry" to establishing relations with the Vatican.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The appointment of bishops in China and relations between the Holy See and Taiwan are still two main stubling blocks to diplomatic relations between Beijing and the Vatican. This is according to some experts interviewed by the Global Times, the online international magazine of government People's Daily, which published an article entitled "Obstacles continue to stall China-Vatican ties: experts" on August 29. The text is signed by Leng Shumei.

Obstacles remain in the way of diplomatic ties between China and the Vatican, experts said, as the Vatican expressed its hope Saturday of establishing formal relations with China.

"There is much hope and expectation that there will be new developments and a new season in relations between the Holy See and China," Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin was quoted by Reuters as saying on Saturday.

"[This] will benefit not just Catholics in the land of Confucius, but the whole country," Parolin said, adding that it also serves world peace.

China, however, is not eager to establish formal ties with the Vatican, the only European country that has not established such relations with China, because it is not an urgent issue which will affect China's international status if it is not dealt with immediately, Yan Kejia, director of the Institute of Religious Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Yan said formal Sino-Vatican ties could materialize if the Vatican cuts off official ties with Taiwan.

"The Vatican should stop its political relations with Taiwan and focus on religious matters with the island," Yan noted.

Taiwan's deputy leader Chen Chien-jen will visit the Vatican next month for a ceremony declaring Mother Teresa a saint, Reuters reported.

China has said countries should be prudent when dealing with Taiwan-related issues, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a daily briefing on Thursday and stressed the one-China principle when asked whether China had lodged a protest with the Vatican over the visit of Taiwan's deputy leader.

Another major dispute between China and the Vatican involves the appointment of bishops, Hu Benliang, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The Vatican expressed its deep regret to China after the latter consecrated several bishops in 2010 without its approval, saying that it was a "painful wound upon ecclesial communion and a grave violation of Catholic discipline."

The situation improved when Zhang Yinlin, a coadjutor bishop in the Anyang diocese in Central China's Henan Province, became the first bishop recognized by both Beijing and the Holy See in August 2015.

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