Vatican and Vietnam agree to open Holy See office in Hanoi as relations improve

Vietnam formally agreed on Thursday to let a Vatican representative live in the country and open an office, a notching up of relations that could have implications down the line for the Holy See’s delicate ties with China.

The Holy See announced the conclusion of the agreement during a visit to the Vatican by Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong, who met with Pope Francis and the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The agreement still falls short of full diplomatic relations, which have been strained for decades. But the two sides have held regular talks since at least 1990 studying the renewal of ties, with Parolin overseeing the process for years, first as foreign minister and now as secretary of state.

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