Representatives of the Holy See and of Vietnam met recently to discuss the re-establishing of bilateral diplomatic relations after decades of tensions between the two sides have eased.
The Vatican’s undersecretary for relations with States, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, said, “We foresee a way of reaching diplomatic relations,” and that the Vatican delegation also asked Vietnamese officials for information about Father Nguyen Van Ly, who was sentenced to eight years in prison after a trial that lasted merely one day.
According to the Vietnamese government, Father Van Ly, a renowned defender of human rights in the country, was found guilt of spreading “propaganda against the Communist regime.” In 2006, he founded a democracy movement in the country known as “Block 8406.”
Archbishop Parolin said he had received a response from Vietnamese officials and that he was optimistic about the talks.
Earlier this year on January 25, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited Pope Benedict XVI to discuss normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations, which the Holy See called “a new and important step.” Archbishop Pietro Parolin responded with a visit to Vietnam in March.