Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected the idea of recalling its ambassador to the Holy See as proposed by a legislator seeking to save Taiwan's dignity in the face of Vatican pursuit of ties with Beijing.
    UCAN reports that Foreign Affairs Minister Jason Hu told a legislature meeting here recently that Taiwan could not recall its ambassador to the Holy See just because of its dissatisfaction with recent comments by Holy See officials.
    The recall was proposed by legislator Wang Hsue-feng, who said that "the Holy See has lost the love of a religious country." Hu explained that Taiwan has to consider first if such a recall would ultimately benefit Taiwan or mainland China, Taiwan's state-run Central News Agency reported.
    Hu said when he visited the Vatican in February, he urged Vatican officials not to hurt the interest of the people and Catholics in Taiwan. His February visit came soon after Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said the Holy See was prepared to move the Apostolic Nunciature in China from Taipei to Beijing should Beijing agree to the move.
    The foreign minister reiterated that he saw no short-term progress in Beijing-Vatican relations. He reported to the press Feb. 23 after he returned from the Vatican that the officials there said the Holy See would be willing to move the nunciature to Beijing if people in mainland China enjoyed religious freedom.
    This has been the Vatican's wish for the last three decades, Hu said, adding that he hoped the Holy See's concern for millions of Catholics in mainland China would not hurt the interest and dignity of the Catholics in Taiwan. On March 22, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states, said in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that the Holy See would have to "modify" its relations with Taiwan if it is to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing.

9:56am 13/4/99 / UCAN


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