Holy See–Taiwan relations

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Taiwan–Holy See relations
Map indicating locations of ROC and Vatican City

Republic of China

Vatican City

Relations between the Republic of China (now commonly known as Taiwan) and the Holy See were established in 1942 and were maintained throughout the Chinese Civil War. There was a period of confusion after the Republic of China government moved to Taipei in 1949. Although many diplomatic missions followed the government to Taipei, the Holy See's mission remained in Beijing and maintained contact with the new Communist regime, the People's Republic of China. In 1951, however, the Communist government expelled the papal representative (see the Death of Antonio Riva) and in the following year the Holy See, having been rejected by the Beijing government, resumed relations with the previous (Nationalist) government, which after its defeat on the mainland had moved to Taipei and continued to claim to represent all of China under the name of "Republic of China".[1]

Taiwan has an embassy to the Holy See in Rome and the Holy See maintains a mission in Taipei, headed, since the decision of the United Nations to recognize the Beijing government as the government of China, not by a nuncio but only by a chargé d'affaires.

On April 8, 2005, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II. In March 2013, ROC President Ma Ying-jeou visited Vatican City to attend the inauguration of Pope Francis. However, no pope—even John Paul II, by far the most-traveled pope—has ever visited the areas controlled by the Taipei government.

As is usual for countries which maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the Holy See in diplomacy recognises the Republic of China government as the government of China. As a result, when arranged alphabetically with other heads of state in Vatican ceremonies, ROC presidents are arranged under "Chine", French for "China" (French being the diplomatic language of the Holy See).

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