Vatican says talks with China have stalled

Taiwan ambassador to Holy See says he was told discussions have not advanced
Vatican says talks with China have stalled

A Catholic woman prays in a church on the grounds of Our Lady of Sheshan Basilica in Shanghai. Taiwan's ambassador to the Vatican says he was told talks between the Holy See and China have stalled. (File photo by AFP) reporter, Hong Kong
January 28, 2016
Taiwan's new ambassador to the Vatican said he was told by Vatican officials that talks between the Holy See and China have stalled.

"Vatican officials said that there is no particular advancement," Matthew Lee told

However, Lee said good relations between the two parties "would be welcomed by the universal church" as long as it "does not hurt Catholic orthodoxy and doctrine, and could promote religious freedom and protect human rights."

Lee said he got to know the future Pope Francis while serving as ambassador to Argentina from 2011 to 2014, but that was not the reason why he was appointed Taiwan’s envoy to the Holy See.

"It was a normal transfer due to the retirement of my predecessor Wang Yu-yuan," Lee said.

Lee presented his credentials to Pope Francis on Jan. 23.

After Argentina, Lee was posted in Jordan for two years before beginning his diplomatic mission to the Vatican in December.

He said that Taiwan-Vatican relations have been "quite close" in recent years, citing a scheduled exhibition of Vatican relics from February to May at the National Museum in Taipei.

Sister Beatrice Leung Kit-fun, a professor of international affairs in Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, scoffed at a potential Vatican-China treaty: "Relation building needs mutual understanding. I do not see that between Beijing and the Vatican."

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