The foreign ministry says that Taiwan’s ties with the Vatican remain strong despite media reports that Pope Francis has met with a Chinese bishop for the first time. The Vatican does not formally recognize Beijing, but Vatican ties with China have improved amid dialogue over issues including the right to appoint bishops. Catholic news website ucanews.com reports that on October 5, Pope Francis met with a group of Chinese pilgrims led by Bishop Joseph Xu Honggen. Xu is head of the Diocese of Suzhou in eastern China. The report included a photo of Pope Francis and Bishop Xu in St. Peter’s Square, joined by the group of Chinese pilgrims. In response, the foreign ministry said Saturday that it is continuing to follow dialogue and interaction between the Vatican and Beijing. The ministry said that the Vatican is not a worldly country, and that the main concerns of Vatican foreign policy are the Church’s adherents around the world and the spreading of the Roman Catholic faith. The foreign ministry also said the Vatican remains concerned for members of China’s underground churches, and is also concerned about its inability to reconcile with the state-sanctioned Chinese church.