Recognise religious freedom, Vatican tells China

Associated Press

Singapore, June 17:

The Vatican reiterated its desire today to forge diplomatic relations with China, but urged Beijing to first recognise “religious freedom as the most important of all freedoms.” “We are ready to enter into diplomatic relations with Beijing. There are difficulties but I think they can be overcome,” said the Vatican foreign minister, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo. “There’s a better understanding from the side of the Chinese government on our position,” he said, referring to the Vatican’s interest in building ties with Beijing. The Vatican has “great consideration for the Chinese people,” Lajolo said. Neither Beijing nor the Holy See have said they are discussing possible relations, but leaders of the world’s most populous country and the world’s largest religious denomination have publicly declared their desire for ties.

“Religious freedom is the most important of all kinds of freedoms, it brings together all kinds of freedoms,” Lajolo said.