Taiwan has invited Pope Francis to visit, its President Tsai Ing-wen said, just weeks after the Vatican reached a milestone deal on the appointment of bishops with China, which claims the self-ruled island as its own.
Last month’s deal gives the Holy See, Taiwan’s last remaining diplomatic ally in Europe, a long-sought say over such appointments, although both sides call it “provisional” and sources have said some key issues remain unresolved.
Taiwan Vice President Chen Chien-jen met Francis on Sunday and invited him to visit, Tsai’s office said in a statement, adding that the pope had replied he would pray for Taiwan. But it gave no date for the proposed visit.
Chen emphasized the provisional nature of the agreement between the Vatican and China, saying it did not involve a “diplomatic element” or affect the friendship between Taiwan and the Vatican, the statement added.
“We urge everyone not to excessively interpret and worry about this (deal),” it quoted Chen as saying.
On social media, Tsai thanked the pope for his blessings. “We will take active and concrete actions to support the pope and to transmit our common values of freedom, justice, peace and care to all corners of the world,” she wrote.