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Diplomacy not a 'zero-sum' game: MOFA

ROC Central News Agency

2018/09/22 15:02:26

Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) Diplomacy is not a "zero-sum" game and cementing a long-lasting and stable diplomatic relationship with the Vatican is the top priority of Taiwan, Taipei-based Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Saturday.

"Taiwan-Vatican ties are stable because the two sides share the same values in democracy, human rights and religious freedom," MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told CNA at a time of rampant media reports about the possible breakthrough in ties between China and the Holly See and whether this would lead to a severing of diplomatic ties between Taiwan and its only official diplomatic ally in Europe.

"We believe that the Vatican must have held talks with China based on concern and respect for human rights and freedom of religion," Lee said, stressing that "the most important thing for Taiwan is to continue maintaining a long-lasting and stable relationship with the Vatican."

Foreign news services have reported that China and the Vatican have been advancing in talks related to the appointment of bishops in China and that the Vatican might send a delegation to Beijing before the end of this month to clinch a deal on the issue.

Some medial outlets have speculated that such a development would lead to the Vatican's breaking ties with Taiwan that have been maintained nearly 70 years. Beijing generally requires states that develop ties with China, sever formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

However, according to recent statements by Republic of China (Taiwan) Ambassador to the Holy See Matthew S.M. Lee (李世明), a likely agreement between China and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops would be aimed merely at dealing with Catholic religious affairs in China and no political or diplomatic issues would be involved.

(By Elaine Hou and Flor Wang)

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