By Sarah Mishkin in Taipei and Jamil Anderlini in Beijing
Pope Francis’ inauguration on Tuesday has given Taiwan’s president an unprecedented opportunity to visit Europe in his capacity as head of state, prompting a call from Beijing for the Vatican to cut diplomatic ties with Taipei.
Many in China are waiting to see whether the new Pope tries to restart an informal dialogue with Beijing that started and then stalled under his predecessor. But a government spokesman said the country stood by its position that the Vatican should first cut its ties with Taipei and not interfere with the Chinese Catholic Church, a government-run body which says it has the right to ordain bishops in China.
“We hope the Vatican will take concrete measures to gradually remove obstacles and create conditions for the improvement of Sino-Vatican relations,” a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said.
An influential Chinese Buddhist leader also…
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