China said that the Vatican was prepared to sever relations with Taiwan in order to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing, AFP reported. Ye Xiaowen, China’s minister of state administration of religious affairs, said that Pope Benedict XVI was prepared to discuss Beijing’s requirement that China alone administer the Catholic Church on the mainland. Ye met with a Vatican envoy in the US. In a separate report from Reuters, an anonymous Vatican official declared that a visit by the Pope to China would be "unthinkable" due to the lack of religious freedom in China. China severed diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 1951 over the Holy See’s recognition of Taiwan.