Vatican and Vietnam agree to open resident Holy See office in Hanoi, as relations improve

by | Jul 28, 2023 | Religion

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Vietnam formally agreed Thursday to let a Vatican representative live in the country and open an office, a notching up of relations that could have implications down the line for the Holy See’s delicate ties with China.The Holy See announced the conclusion of the agreement during a visit to the Vatican by Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong, who met with Pope Francis and the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
The agreement still falls short of full diplomatic relations, which have been strained for decades. But the two sides have held regular talks since at least 1990 studying the renewal of ties, with Parolin overseeing the process for years, first as foreign minister and now as secretary of state.
A Vatican statement said the appointment of a resident representative of the pope to the communist country would support the local Catholic community, contribute to the development of the country and help serve as a “bridge to advance relations between Vietnam and the Holy See.”
The Vatican’s delicate relationship with Vietnam has long been seen as something of a model for its relations with China, which severed diplomatic ties in 1951, following the Communists’ rise to power and the expulsion of foreign priests.
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