Vo Van Thuong. Photo: Hai Duong

Vietnamese President To Visit Vatican: Historic Signing of An Agreement That Could Inspire China

Vo Van Thuong assumed the presidency in March 2023 and is expected to arrive in Rome at the end of July to meet with Pope Francis. It is worth remembering that the last meeting between a Vietnamese head of state and the Supreme Pontiff took place in 2016, when then-President Tran Đại Quang visited the Holy See.

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(ZENIT News / Hanoi, 07.18.2023).- The arrival in the Vatican of the President of Vietnam, Vo Van Thuong at the end of July is awaited with great expectation. During his visit, the President is planning to sign an important Agreement, which would smooth the path to establish a permanent representation of the Holy See in Hanoi. The information, confirmed by Reuters and backed by reliable Vatican sources, has sparked the interest of the International Community.

Vo Van Thuong took office in March 2023; he is expected to arrive in Rome at the end of this month to meet with Pope Francis. It’s worth recalling that the last meeting between a Vietnamese Head of State and the Supreme Pontiff took place in 2016, when the then President Tran Dai Quang visited the Holy See. 

The possibility of having a permanent Representative  of the Vatican in Vietnam has been the object of diplomatic conversations for a long time. To date, the Holy See has appointed  as Representative for Vietnam, Archbishop Marek Zalewski, who has been making visits to the country under the authorization of the Vietnamese Government. However, last year a preliminary Agreement was reached to establish a permanent office in Hanoi, which is now about to become a reality. This milestone would mean the re-establishment of an official presence in the country, coinciding with the almost half century gone by since the expulsion of the Apostolic Delegate in Vietnam in 1975, by decision of the Communist Government. Although this advance is a step forward, it does not yet imply the full restoration of diplomatic relations. 

Undoubtedly, this subject has a certain connection with the relations between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China. On various occasions Vatican diplomacy has mentioned the Vietnam case as a possible “pragmatic” model to follow in relations with Beijing. The opening of a “stable liaison office of the Holy See in China” has been one of the requests made to foment dialogue based on truth and mutual respect, suggested Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, in an interview with Vatican media on Saturday, July 15. These statements were a comment on Pope Francis’ decision to address the canonical irregularity caused by Beijing when appointing Monsignor Joseph Shen Bin as Bishop of Shanghai. 

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