By Amaechi Idumuebor (AGENDAWACTHDOG) – The U.S. and the Vatican butted heads over China on Thursday as the Holy See chafed at U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s public call to take a harsher stance against Chinese restrictions on religious freedom.
The State Department sought to play down the differences, but tensions were palpable during Pompeo’s two-day visit to Rome. The disagreement on China comes as the Vatican is heading into delicate negotiations with Beijing to extend its controversial 2018 accord over bishop nomination
Pompeo spent about 45 minutes Thursday meeting in the Apostolic Palace with his Vatican counterpart, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Vatican foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher.
“We had a constructive discussion,” Pompeo said after the meeting, “We have a shared objective. The Chinese Communist Party is behaving in ways that are reminiscent of what’s only happened in centuries past in terms of human rights violations. We’ve watched them oppress not only Muslim Uighurs but Christians, Catholics, Falun Gong, people of all faiths.