Republic of China's (Taiwan) Vice President Chen Chien-jen (???) said Monday that his country is maintaining "good and sustainable relations" with the Holy See, amid speculation that efforts by the Vatican and Beijing to establish diplomatic relations are making progress.
Chen, who is currently on a visit to the Holy See, said the trip has helped reaffirm Taiwan's partnership and dialogue with the Vatican, a country with which Taiwan shares common core values.
According to the vice president, issues concerning the Holy See's interactions with Beijing were raised during his meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Sunday, during which Parolin explained that the Holy See's dialogue with Beijing has mainly focused on church affairs.
Chen said he told Parolin that he understands Pope Francis' hope to reach the 12 million Catholics in China and to appoint bishops there.
News surfaced last month that the Chinese government was willing to reach an "understanding" with the Vatican over the contentious issue of appointing bishops, giving rise to speculation that the Holy See and Beijing have moved a step closer to establishing diplomatic ties.
Taiwan has reiterated that its ties with the Vatican remain firm and close.
The Vatican established diplomatic ties with the Republic of China in 1942 but recalled its ambassador and has appointed in its place a charge d'affaires in Taipei since the ROC seat in the United Nations was taken over by the People's Republic of China in 1971.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel