Beijing called on new Pope Benedict XVI to sever ties with Taiwan and keep out of China's internal affairs to pave the way for improving Sino-Vatican relations, Agence France-Presse reported, citing foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang. Sino-Vatican ties broke in 1951 when China expelled the Vatican's ambassador. Although China does not recognize the Pope's authority, the official Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association sent a congratulatory telegram "in the name of the bishops and believers of the whole country," the ministry said.
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