Pope sends rare goodwill message to China
Published on Aug 14, 2014 12:02 PM
SEOUL (AFP) - Pope Francis sent an unprecedented goodwill message to China's leadership on Thursday, offering his blessings to a nation mired in a long-running battle with the Vatican for control of its Catholic community.
The pontiff, who was flying to South Korea on his first papal visit to Asia, took advantage of protocol that sees him send messages to the leaders of any countries he flies over.
"Upon entering Chinese airspace, I extend best wishes to your excellency and your fellow citizens, and I invoke the divine blessings of peace and well-being on the nation," he said in the radio message to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
When pope John Paul II visited South Korea in 1989, Beijing refused to let his plane fly over China.
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