09:41 GMT13 August 2020
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    BEIJING (Sputnik) - Vice President of the Republic of China Chen Chien-jen has invited Pope Francis to visit Taiwan, the office of the Taiwanese president said in a statement.

    Chen has arrived in the Vatican on October 11, and his visit will last until Tuesday. On Sunday, Chen held a meeting with the pope and invited him to visit Taiwan. Chen has also conveyed to the pope the best wishes from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. While the pope said that he would pray for Taiwan, it has not been reported yet whether he has accepted the invitation.

    READ MORE: North Korean Leader Kim Invites Pope Francis to Visit Pyongyang — Seoul

    On September 22, the Vatican and the Chinese government signed an agreement on the appointment of bishops in China. This is a landmark event in the Chinese-Vatican relations, which were tense, with Beijing insisting that appointing bishops was its responsibility in spite of the Vatican's claims that the pope should approve such appointments.

    As China qualifies Taiwan as its sovereign territory, not an independent state, concerns emerged in Taiwan that the Holy See could give up on the Vatican-Taiwanese ties and establish diplomatic relations with China instead. However, Chen voiced his belief that the agreement on the bishops' appointment was not a political one, and would not affect the relations between the Vatican and Taiwan, which were established 76 years ago.


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