"I strongly identify with Your Holiness's magnanimous vision and appeal to all of humanity to renounce the desire to dominate others, show mutual respect, and learn to see one another as sons and daughters of God and as brothers and sisters, so as to break the spiral of vengeance," Taiwan's president wrote to Pope Francis.
"Many of the international conflicts today can be attributed to the desire to dominate others. When one party tries to impose its will on another, genuine dialogue becomes impossible," she said.
The Holy See has recognized the Taiwanese government, the Republic of China, since 1942, and does not currently have formal diplomatic relations with the government of the People's Republic of China, which consolidated control of the mainland at the conclusion of a civil war in 1949.
In 2018, Beijing and Vatican officials signed a provisional agreement on bishop appointments. The China-Vatican deal was intended to unify the underground Church and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
China has previously demanded that other countries end diplomatic recognition of Taiwan -- which it regards as a rebel province, not as a sovereign nation -- as a price for increased economic or political cooperation.
Vatican City is the only remaining country in Europe that recognizes Taiwan as a country. However, the nunciature in Taipei has not been led by a nuncio since Oct. 25, 1971, when the United Nations ceased to recognize the Taipei-based government as the government of China.
Taiwan's government has repeatedly invited Pope Francis to visit Taiwan both before and after the Holy See's provisional deal with China.
Tsai expressed her hope for "the continued growth of the Catholic Church" and said that the virtue of hope leads toward peace and overcoming adversity.
"I firmly believe that as long as people in Taiwan and around the world embrace hope and remain open to a dialogue that rejects exclusion and manipulation, true peace can be achieved," Tsai wrote.
Pope Francis sent new year's greetings to Asian nations during his Wednesday audience Jan. 22. Lunar New Year is the biggest annual holiday in East Asia in which millions travel to celebrate with family.
"I invite everyone to pray also for peace, for dialogue and for solidarity between nations: gifts that are ever more necessary for today's world," Pope Francis said.
(Story continues below)
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