China ready to work with Vatican for steady improvement of ties: Chinese FM spokesperson

2024-05-23 09:02:19Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China is ready to work with the Vatican for the steady improvement of relations, and two sides have maintained engagement, had in-depth communication on bilateral relations and international hotspot issues and increased understanding and trust, a spokesperson from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday in response to the Vatican's top cardinal suggesting that it wants to establish a permanent office in China.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a routine press briefing on Wednesday.

The Vatican's Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said on Tuesday that "We have been hoping for a long time to be able to have a stable presence in China… The form [of it] can be different, let's not fixate on only one way," he said.

Parolin spoke at a Vatican-hosted conference on the Catholic Church in China, and his words are being seen as a sign of an upgrade in diplomatic relations with China.

Attendees had wide exchanges during the conference, which has enhanced people-to-people communication between China and the Vatican, Yan Kejia, director of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Religious Studies, who participated in the conference, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Top Chinese researchers on Catholicism and representatives from China's religious field were in attendance, and they had extensive exchanges with religious figures from several European countries, Yan said.

Bishop Shen Bin of Shanghai also made a speech at the Vatican conference.

Yan said the atmosphere at the meeting was good, and hopefully China and Vatican can meet each other half way to improve ties.

China and the Vatican signed a provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops in Beijing on September 22, 2018. On October 22, 2020, the two decided to extend that agreement for another two years.

This was the second time the agreement was extended for another two years since it was first reached in 2018.

In October 2022, Wang, the spokesperson, confirmed China and the Vatican had agreed to extend the provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops for another two years.

The two sides will keep in close contact and engage in consultations to push forward proper implementation of the provisional agreement and constantly advance the process of improving bilateral ties, Wang said in 2022.

The agreement is due for renewal again in the latter half of this year.

Yan said that "renewing the agreement is not a problem, but whether further progress can be made is worth looking forward to."

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