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Vatican seeks official relations with China, maintains ties with Taiwan

.- The Vatican will seek to resume relations with China after more than half a century if religious freedom is allowed, a Vatican official said on Tuesday.

While Vatican-China relations took a negative turn last week when China consecrated a bishop without Vatican permission, it is reportedly still the Vatican’s intention to seek to restore official relations with the communist state and to establish its official presence there.

According to Msgr. Ambrose Madtha of the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Taipei, Taiwan, the Vatican would seek to restore an apostolic nunciature in Beijing for the first time since the Communist Party began ruling China in 1949, Reuters said.

Taiwan split from China in 1949, and the Vatican went with it. Taiwan sees the Vatican as an important ally in its continued fight for international legitimacy.

Msgr. Madtha said the Vatican would seek to keep a delegate in Taiwan in addition to reestablishing relations with Beijing.

However, it is believed that China will not let the Vatican maintain ties with Taiwan, which it considers to be part of its territory, while pursuing diplomatic relations in Beijing.

There are an estimated 10 million Catholics in China, and many worship underground. There are 300,000 Catholics in Taiwan.

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