Pope Francis sends National Day wishes to Taiwan
Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) Pope Francis has sent a congratulatory message to President Tsai Ing-wen blessing Taiwan as the country prepares to celebrate its National Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.
The Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in Taipei delivered the message from the pontiff to Taiwan's government on Oct. 5, the ministry said.
In the message, the pope extended his congratulations to the people and the president of Taiwan, hoping that all people will continue to create welfare systems for the public and pursue peace, it said.
The pope also blessed the president and the people of Taiwan in the message, the ministry said.
In response, the ministry expressed Taiwan's gratitude for the wishes and greetings from Pope Francis.
In addition to the pope, Msgr. Sladan Cosic, charge d'affaires a.i. at the Apostolic Nunciature, also sent a congratulatory message to Taiwan, the ministry said.
Taiwan will celebrate its national day on Oct. 10, when a series of events will be staged, including a ceremony in front of the Presidential Office and a reception at Taipei Guest House, which will be hosted by the ministry to welcome visiting foreign dignitaries.
The Republic of China, as Taiwan is formally known, and the Holy See have maintained long-standing diplomatic ties and conducted close exchanges over the years, the ministry said.
The sides have seen frequent visits by high-level officials, the ministry said, citing as an example the visit by Vice President Chen Chien-jen to the Holy See to attend the canonization ceremony of Saint Teresa in September.
The ministry's remarks came amid recent reports that efforts by the Vatican and Beijing to establish diplomatic relations are making progress.
Taiwan has stressed, however, that ties with the Holy See remain solid and that according to its understanding, the dialogue between China and the Holy See has focused on church affairs.
The Holy See established diplomatic ties with the ROC in 1942 but recalled its ambassador and has appointed in its place a charge d'affaires in Taipei since the ROC's seat in the United Nations was taken over by the People's Republic of China in 1971.
It is Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Europe. (Courtesy of CNA)