By UCA News
The Vatican will send an archbishop to lead a delegation to attend Taiwan President-elect Tsai Ing-wen’s upcoming inauguration.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on May 5 that Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio to Japan, will join the May 20 ceremony.
The Indian archbishop had been the Vatican’s charge d’affaires to Taiwan from 1995-1999.
The Vatican has a long-standing practice of sending an envoy from a nearby country to attend Taiwan’s presidential inauguration, Anna Kao, director general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Department of European Affairs, told reporters.
The Holy See sent Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, to President Ma Ying-jeou’s inauguration in 2008, and Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, apostolic nuncio to South Korea, to his inauguration when he won his second term in 2012.
Of the 22 countries with diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the Vatican is the only one in Europe.
Given the envoy is an archbishop instead of a cardinal, a Chinese researcher who asked not to be named told ucanews.com that “it is obvious that the Vatican does not want to make a high profile presence at the inauguration.”