Vietnam and the Holy See have reached an agreement on establishing a permanent resident papal representative office in the Southeast Asian country.
The Joint Working Group with Pope Francis in Vatican on August 21. Photo: Vatican Media
The two sides reached the agreement at the 8th meeting of the Joint Working Group which took place on August 21-22 in Vatican. The delegations were led by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung, and that of the Holy See by Rev. Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States.
The agreement covers principles of underlying status of the Resident Papal Representative and the Office of the Resident Papal Representative in Vietnam, “in view of the setting up of the Office at the earliest possible date,” according to the joint statement released on August 23.
Since 2011, the Holy See has had a non-resident pontifical representative to Vietnam. At the 7th meeting of the Joint Working Group in Hanoi, the two sides had agreed to upgrade this representative from a non-permanent, non-resident to a permanent resident status.
A resident papal representative is considered an intermediary step in diplomatic relations, below an apostolic nuncio, the Catholic News Agency reported.
The Holy See and Vietnam have never had full diplomatic relations, but have been engaged in formal bilateral discussions since 2009.
At this year’s meeting, the Holy See also highly appreciated the Vietnamese State’s assistance to the Catholic community in Vietnam. The country has assured its continued commitment to respect of freedom of belief and religion.
“The two sides also expressed their commitment to continuing dialogue based on trust and respect for the mutually agreed principles governing the bilateral relations. They underscored the importance of further promoting contacts, including at high levels, between the two sides,” according to the statement.