Vatican Mulls Cutting Ties with Taiwan: HK Bishop
Apr 4, 11:43 PM (ET)
HONG KONG (Reuters) - The Vatican would be reluctantly willing to cut ties with Taiwan and set up relations with China if Beijing could guarantee religious freedom, the head of the Hong Kong Roman Catholic diocese said on Tuesday.
"If the Chinese government is willing to grant real freedom to the church in mainland China, then the Vatican would reluctantly be willing to give up its diplomatic relations with Taiwan," Bishop Joseph Zen told Reuters.
"The unfair thing is, Beijing wants the Vatican to stop its relations with Taiwan first before it will talk with the Vatican."
China severed relations with the Holy See in the 1950s after expelling foreign clergy. Believers must attend state-sanctioned churches which pledge loyalty to Beijing instead of the Vatican, though many worship the Pope in secret.
The South China Morning Post on Tuesday quoted Zen as saying the Holy See had been "thinking of giving up" Taiwan. "This is a difficult (decision), but it has decided to do it," he was quoted as saying.