12/07/2006, 00.00
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Taiwan ambassador’s gift to Pope for charity and mission in Asia

Republic of China diplomatic envoy to Holy See makes US$ 100,000 donation to the Pope for Christmas to support “His noble mission for evangelization around the world”. Holy See representative in Taipei says that renewing ties with mainland China does not mean leaving Taiwan.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The government of Taiwan is donating US$ 100,000 to Pope Benedict XVI for Christmas. Mr Chou-seng Tou, ambassador of the Republic of China to the Holy See, presented the gift to Mgr Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

In the motivation Ambassador Tou said that Taiwan wanted to support “His [the Pope’s] noble mission for evangelization around the world, in particular to assist the formation of religious students from Asian developing countries who study in Rome”. In doing so Taiwan wished to “renew its willingness to be the Holy See’s partner for peace, brotherly love and charity” and “help to spread the word of God in Asia so that love and peace may at last prevail”.

The gift was made in consideration of the Catholic Church’s “significant contribution” to Asia’s social and cultural development, especially by “her dedication to education, health care and assistance to the less fortunate”.

Taiwan’s Catholics number 300,000. Since 1972 the Holy See has had a chargé d’affaires in Taipei. The Nunciature was opened in 1951 following the nuncio’s expulsion from the mainland.

In recent days, following the unlawful ordination of a bishop in Xuzhou (Jiangsu, mainland China), the issue of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Holy See has come to fore again.

Mgr Ambrose Madtha, Vatican chargé d’affaires in Taipei, said that the Vatican wants to renew diplomatic ties with mainland China if religious freedom is fully guaranteed but without breaking ties with Taiwan.

In a statement to the Reuters news agency on Tuesday, Mgr Madtha said that the “Holy See's position is quite clear and is known to the Taiwanese government. The Holy See would maintain its delegate in Taipei. The Holy see will not abandon Taiwan.”


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