Pope gets first taste of simmering China-Taiwan dispute
VATICAN CITY (AFP) - President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan met Pope Francis in St Peter's Basilica on Tuesday in a first taste for the new pontiff of a long-running dispute that pits the island nation against its giant neighbour China.
China has called on the Vatican to cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Sunday saying the Vatican should "recognise the Chinese government as the sole legal representative of all China".
The Holy See is one of only 23 states in the world that recognise Taipei instead of Beijing.
Ms Hua also said China hoped that Pope Francis would "take concrete steps to create conditions for the improvement of China-Vatican relations".