Taiwan president plans to attend Pope Francis' installation
TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou plans to visit the Vatican to attend the installation of the newly-elected pope, officials said Friday, in a move bound to upset China.
The Vatican is the only European nation to maintain diplomatic ties with Taipei instead of Beijing, which regards the island as Chinese territory awaiting unification and opposes any overseas visits by its leader.
"After the new pope was elected the foreign ministry initiated a plan for the president to visit the Vatican," vice foreign minister Vanessa Shih told reporters.
"This is in line with the diplomatic status of the two sides," she said, adding that a working group had been organised to arrange the trip.