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(AP) – The Vatican ‘s foreign minister said Wednesday that difficulties in establishing long-sought diplomatic ties with China are not “insurmountable” but must be handled carefully. Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo returned from an 11-day trip to Asia that did not include a stop in China . He said establishing diplomatic relations with the country has been under examination.

“In my view there aren’t insurmountable difficulties. However, you have to move with care,” he said in a Vatican Radio interview, noting the need to assess what have been “unbreakable assumptions on both sides.” Roman Catholics in China were ordered in 1951 to break off relations with the pope, and communist leaders allow worship only in churches run by the official Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which appoints its own priests and bishops. It recognizes the pope as a spiritual leader but rejects a Vatican role in church affairs.,1280,-5091930,00.html