The Vatican’s Taiwan Tango

Taiwan prez Chen meets Vatican official

John Paul II was a staunch anti-communist, and he wasn’t dead more than a few moments before there was talk of the Vatican switching relations from Taiwan to China.

The Vatican has suggested that it might switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China if China agreed to give the Vatican some control over China’s Catholics and to stop religious persecution, but of course neither of those are going to happen. So in turn it appears that Rome stays friendly to Taiwan, President Chen Shui-Bian got to attend the funeral which was a big media frenzy with dozens of other heads of state, and China got to throw a hissy fit.

In the end this makes China look bad for throwing a fit just because a democratically-elected leader was able to pay last respects to a highly-respected world figure, while giving Taiwan much needed publicity on the issue in Europe, which has been engaged in recent debate on whether or not they should resume arms sales to China. But the more people learn the facts about the issue between China and Taiwan, the more they realize how truly outrageous the Chinese position on Taiwan really is. Where there was passive ambivalence before, there comes to the newly-educated on the subject a sense of distate for China’s tactics and policies of agression.