|Desiree Sison |||Dec 17, 2014 03:24 AM EST|
China Thanks Pope Francis, Seeks To Improve Relations With Vatican
China, through its Foreign Ministry, expressed appreciation last Monday for Pope Francis' decision not to meet with the Dalai Lama and said it will continue to develop bilateral relations with the Vatican.
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Qin Gang, Foreign Ministry spokesman, said China had 'noticed' the Holy See's positive attitude in trying to improve its relations with China.
The Dalai Lama was in Rome last week for a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners when Pope Francis decided not to meet with him.
Vatican officials have explained that Pope Francis' refusal to meet with the Dalai Lama stemmed from the ongoing "tensions" between Beijing and the Tibetan leader.
The pope did not want to get involved especially at this time when China and the Holy See are holding dialogues.
Qin said China has always been sincere in improving its relations with the Vatican and expressed hope that the latter will do the same thing.
"China will continue to hold constructive dialogue with the Holy See," Qin said.
Qin said both China and the Vatican will make joint efforts in meeting each other halfway to improve bilateral relations.
Reports said the Dalai Lama's request to meet with the Pope was turned down for obvious reasons concerning the 'delicate situation' with China.
The Dalai Lama has acknowledged the Vatican's decision and said it was 'understandable.' He was also quoted as saying that he was a source of 'trouble' for some people.
The Dalai Lama had expressed his admiration for Pope Francis for the way he teaches the Word of God. "He is very resolute and transparent,"he said.
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu Monday said he was 'sad' that the Holy Father bowed down to pressure not to meet with the Dalai Lama.
He claimed that the Pope's decision was made under duress but admitted that the Pope was placed in a dilemma and had to extricate himself out of the tricky situation.
China had cut off ties with the Vatican in 1951 and since then, there have been no formal diplomatic relations between them.The Vatican has had only bilateral relations with Taiwan.
Vatican observers said the Pope is highly concerned with its relations with China and thinks about the Catholics there and the possible effects it would bring on them if he meets with the Tibetan leader.
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