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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05VATICAN512 2005-08-16 13:31:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
Cable title:  

OPTIMISM ON CHINA FROM DEPUTY FM PAROLIN (C-ALS-00716)

Tags:   KIRF PHUM PINR PREL VT CH 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L  VATICAN 000512 

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR EUR/WE (CUNNINGHAM); DRL/IRF (INBODEN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 8/16/2015
TAGS: KIRF PHUM PINR PREL VT CH
SUBJECT: OPTIMISM ON CHINA FROM DEPUTY FM PAROLIN (C-ALS-00716)

REF: A) STATE 145435 B) VATICAN 484

CLASSIFIED BY: Peter Martin, Political Officer, POL, STATE.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
-------
Summary
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1. (C) Vatican Deputy Foreign Minister Parolin told the Charge
August 9 that there were signs that Beijing might eventually be
open to some official Vatican presence in China as a first step
towards diplomatic relations. According to Parolin, an initial
Holy See representative would have some official status, but
would obviously not be a full-fledged apostolic nuncio. The
important thing, he said, would be for the representative to
enjoy full freedom of movement and the ability to speak to
"whomever he wants." Parolin would not hazard a guess as to a
time frame for any such arrangement; we understand he was
referring to continuing unofficial talks that are only the
precursor to more serious negotiations between the two sides.
Parolin acknowledged Taiwanese fears of being "abandoned" by the
Holy See in the event of an upgrade of relations with Beijing,
but said the Vatican would find a way to maintain "some
presence" in Taiwan. Though Parolin's comments do not augur an
imminent breakthrough on China, they were more optimistic and
detailed than what we typically hear from the Secretariat of
State on the matter. End Summary.



--------------------------


Signs of Openness


--------------------------





2. (C) Holy See Deputy Foreign Minister Pietro Parolin told
the Charge August 9 that there were signs that Beijing might
eventually be open to some Vatican presence in China as a first
step towards diplomatic relations. Parolin said that informal
unofficial dialogue with China was continuing, and he had the
impression that eventually the two sides could come to an
agreement on a Holy See representative resident in China.



--------------------------


Our Man in China


--------------------------





3. (C) According to Parolin, an initial Holy See
representative would have some official status, but would
obviously not be a full-fledged apostolic nuncio. Parolin said
the Vatican would be careful about proposing a title for the
representative, since even this variable could raise hackles.
"The title is not important to us," Parolin emphasized. "We
would just have to be sure that any Vatican representative would
enjoy freedom of movement, and could speak to whomever he
wants." This includes members of the underground church. "If
the Chinese won't agree to those terms we won't do it," he
concluded.



4. (C) When asked about a time frame for any real movement on
these issues, Parolin said it was hard to say. "Some said
[China] would [move to normalize relations] before the [Beijing
2008] Olympics," he recalled, "but who knows?" "This process is
unpredictable," he added. Still, Parolin thinks that when the
two sides are finally able to come to an agreement, things will
move fast. He said that once they could agree upon a formula
for the papal representative, in addition to overcoming
longstanding differences over appointment of bishops, other
details would fall into place relatively quickly, and full
relations would follow.



--------------------------


Taiwan


--------------------------





5. (C) Turning to another side of the equation, Parolin
admitted that Taiwan feared being "abandoned" by the Vatican
when the Holy See eventually formalizes relations with Beijing.
Though he acknowledged the obvious necessity of downgrading
relations with Taipei at the time of an upgrade with Beijing,
Parolin insisted that the Vatican would not simply drop Taiwan.
He said the Holy See would "continue to inform Taiwan"
throughout the process, and that the Vatican would look for a
way to maintain "some presence" in Taiwan, even though a
representative would not be able to maintain ambassadorial
status.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





6. (C) Parolin's comments were more optimistic and detailed

than most commentary we have heard from the Holy See's
Secretariat of State on this subject. There has certainly been

SIPDIS
some movement on this front, even if it has been confined to
unofficial talks between Vatican-affiliated groups and
semi-official Chinese representatives. However, as Parolin
implied when speaking of timing, concrete progress could still
be a long way off.

SANDROLINI


NNNN

2005VATICA00512 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL