Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, presently Apostolic Nuncio in Thailand and Cambodia and Apostolic Delegate in Laos, as Apostolic Nuncio in Myanmar (Burma). Previously, he was Apostolic Delegate in Myanmar.
On March 10, 2017, Myanmar’s Parliament agreed to the establishment of full diplomatic relations with seven States, one of which was the Vatican.
The Vatican’s proposal was presented last February 8. Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Rangoon, the then Apostolic Delegate in Myanmar, Monsignor Paul Tsang In-Nam, and Father Murice Nyunt Wai, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference, were the protagonists of this “historic” agreement.
The Parliament of the Republic of Myanmar approved by “unanimity” the Vatican’s proposal to establish diplomatic relations. The news was broadcasted on the State Television on March 10, and published on March 11 by the “Mirror,” the government’s official press organ.
Monsignor Paul Tsang In-Nam himself presented the Vatican’s proposal on February 8, 2017 to the State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Under the leadership of Cardinal Charles Bo, premier Cardinal of Myanmar, Monsignor Tsang In-Nam met Aung San Suu Kyi officially in her residence of Nay Pyi Taw, the administrative capital. Father Maurice Nyunt Wai also attended the meeting.
Pope Francis received Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi twice in the Vatican, first on October 28, 2013 and then on May 4, 2017. The second meeting marked the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.
The October 28, 2013 audience highlighted the “great attunement” between the Holy Father and “this symbolic figure in the Asian world.” Since then, her party, the National League for Democracy, has come to power.
Icon of the rights of man and of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, a prize she was only able to receive in 2012, and the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2013.
The appointment of the “Nuncio” ratifies the establishment of full diplomatic relations and it seems to be a stage in the preparation of a trip to the country by Pope Francis, observers in Rome believe, but at this stage, the Holy See has neither confirmed nor denied a possible trip.
According to the English agency “Union of Catholic Asia News,” Pope Francis, invited by President Htin Kyaw – a democrat close to Aung San Suu Kyi, President since March 30, 2016 – and by the Bishops, for the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Catholicism in Burma (2014), might go to the country the last week of November and spend four nights there — at Naypyidaw and Rangoon.
It would be the first visit of a Pope to that country.