Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao offered China's condolences over Pope John Paul II's passing, Liu adding that it was China's hope that "under the leadership of the new pope, favorable conditions for improving China-Vatican relations can be made". But restoring ties between Beijing and the Holy See, broken in 1951, was predicated on the Vatican cutting ties with Taiwan and promising not to interfere in the mainland's internal affairs, including religious affairs, he said. Separately, the South China Morning Post quoted Hong Kong's Roman Catholic primate, Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, saying the Vatican "has been thinking of giving up Taiwan" to facilitate renewing ties with the Mainland.
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