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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Remarks on the newly appointed Pope Joseph Ratzinger

Q: Joseph Ratzinger was appointed the new Pope on April 20. What's China's comment on that? What does China expect from the new Pope?

A: We'd like to express our congratulations to Joseph Ratzingger, who was appointed the new pontiff on April 20. As far as we know, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and the Chinese Catholic Bishops College, on behalf of all the Catholics in China sent a congratulatory cable to the Vatican and asked churches throughout the country to pray for the new Pope as a gesture of congratulations.

We are willing to improve our relations with Vatican on the basis of two fundamental principles. First, the Vatican must cut off its so-called diplomatic relations with Taiwan, acknowledging the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an indispensable part of China. Second, the Vatican should not interfere in China's domestic affairs, including not interfering in China's domestic affairs in the name of religion. We hope under the leadership of the new Pope, Vatican could create beneficial conditions for the improvement of the China-Vatican relations.

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