Hanoi confirms increased contacts with Vatican

The official Vietnam news agency has confirmed that Vietnamese officials met Vatican authorities and agreed to increase contact to promote better understanding and to solve issues of common concern and improve bilateral relations.

AsiaNews reports that the agreement was reached last week during a visit to the Vatican by a delegation made of officials from the Vietnamese government's Committee for Religious Affairs and the Foreign Ministry.

According to Vietnam News, the Vietnamese delegation spoke about Vietnam's religious situation and policies, affirming Vietnam's respect of religious freedom.

It has acknowledged the Vatican's requests and agreed to increase contacts to settle issues of mutual concern.

A Vatican note published on Saturday at the end of the meetings with the Vietnamese delegation reflected on "the question of relations between Vietnam and the Holy See, in the hope that it will advance rapidly in the direction of their normalisation."

The meetings that began on 27 June were held "in a climate of cordial respect and fruitful dialogue" and concentrated "on some aspects of the life of the Catholic Church in Vietnam, reflecting on developments since the last meetings" that were held in Vietnam in April and May 2004.

Not since 1992 had a Vietnamese government delegation visited the Vatican. But relations between the two sides have markedly improved in the last few years with regular visits by Vatican delegations to Hanoi.

Lately, Vietnamese authorities extended their condolences to the Holy See on the death of Pope John Paul II.

Vietnam has about 8 million Catholics, one of the largest Catholic communities in Asia.

Hanoi confirms increased contacts with Vatican (AsiaNews.it 4/7/05)

Vatican hopeful on diplomatic progress with Vietnam (Catholic World News 4/7/05)
Holy See and Vietnam Seek to Normalize Ties (Zenit 3/7/05)

5 Jul 2005