BEIJING, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- China is willing to develop relations with the Vatican if the Vatican severs its diplomatic ties with Taiwan and refrains from interfering in China's internal affairs, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday.
Spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing that China has acknowledged reports that Pope Benedict XVI will resign on Feb. 28.
Hong said China hopes the Vatican will show flexibility and sincerity in creating conditions for the improvement of China-Vatican ties under the new pope.
Hong urged the Vatican to recognize the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government representing China, as well as recognize that Taiwan is part of China.
The Vatican must also refrain from interfering in China's internal affairs, particularly the interference in the name of religion, Hong said.