(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called China a “great country,” and said the world should not “fear” China’s growing power, but that the “true balance of peace is realized through dialogue.”
The Holy Father was speaking in an interview about China with the Asia Times, an online newspaper based in Hong Kong.
Pope Francis told the interviewer, Asia Times columnist and China Renmin University senior researcher Francesco Sisci, he had been fascinated by China from a young age.
“For me, China has always been a reference point of greatness. A great country,” Pope Francis said. “But more than a country, a great culture, with an inexhaustible wisdom.”
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When asked about the challenges faced by the rising influence of the country, the Holy Father said the rest of the world should not react with “fear.”
“But when a people moves forward, this does not worry me because it means they are making history,” the Pope said. “And I believe that the Chinese people are moving forward and this is their greatness.
Pope Francis said the Western world, the Eastern world, and China all have the capacity and strength to maintain the balance of peace, and this balance will be found through “dialogue,” and no other way.
“Encounter is achieved through dialogue,” Pope Francis said. “The true balance of peace is realized through dialogue.”
The Holy Father also commended China for recently loosening its “one-child” policy.
“The problem for China of not having children must be very painful; because the pyramid is then inverted and a child has to bear the burden of his father, mother, grandfather and grandmother,” Pope Francis said. “And this is exhausting, demanding, disorientating. It is not the natural way.”
Pope Francis concluded the interview by sending good wishes to the Chinese nation for the upcoming celebrations marking the Chinese New Year of the Monkey.
“On the eve of the New Year, I wish to convey my best wishes and greetings to President Xi Jinping and to all the Chinese people,” he said.
“And I wish to express my hope that they never lose their historical awareness of being a great people, with a great history of wisdom, and that they have much to offer to the world,” – Pope Francis continued – “The world looks to this great wisdom of yours. In this New Year, with this awareness, may you continue to go forward in order to help and cooperate with everyone in caring for our common home and our common peoples. ”