About 35 heads of States and government are expected to attend the annual Munich Security Conference which began on Friday. Many countries are represented by high level diplomats. Within the context of this Conference, a meeting took place today, February 14 between His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, and His Excellency Mr. Wang Yi, State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. A meeting of this kind had not taken place in 70 years.
The meeting was made public through a communiqué of the Holy See's Secretariat of State, issued by the Holy See Press Office on Friday evening. It related that the two parties held a discussion that “took place in a cordial atmosphere”. They discussed the contacts that have taken place between the two countries “which have developed positively over time”, the communiqué said.
The importance of the Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Bishops, signed last 22 September was highlighted, and the “willingness to continue the institutional dialogue at the bilateral level to promote the life of the Catholic Church and the good of the Chinese people” was renewed. “Appreciation was expressed for the efforts being made to eradicate the coronavirus epidemic as well as solidarity with the affected population", the communiqué reported.
Lastly, the parties expressed, “a desire for greater international cooperation” to foster peace in the world and “considerations on intercultural dialogue and human rights were exchanged”.
Regarding the coronavirus epidemic, Pope Francis prayed for all those affected by it in his General Audience on Wednesday. He also expressed his closeness to the Chinese people, and invited the faithful “to pray for our Chinese brothers and sisters” who are affected by the “cruel” coronavirus epidemic. The Pope then expressed the hope that all affected by the illness might "find a path to recovery as soon as possible".