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09/15/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – On his way to Kazakhstan on September 13, Pope Francis told journalists on the papal plane that he was ready to visit China.

Pope Francis kicked off his three-day ‘pilgrimage of peace’ on Tuesday to attend the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, a triennial interfaith summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is also expected to visit Kazakhstan on Sept. 14 to meet with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, leading many to suspect a potential meeting between Pope Francis and President Xi.

While the pope said he was ready to go to China, he did not “have any news” about the speculation that he might meet Xi during the trip.

The coinciding visits of the two leaders come as the Vatican and China set to renew a controversial provisional agreement on bishop appointment that will expire in October this year. Despite such a deal, the underground Chinese Catholics have faced crackdowns from Beijing in recent years.

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