China and the Holy See have reached a consensus on the appointment of bishops, Cardinal John Tong of Hong Kong has said.

“From now on, there will be no more the crisis of a division between the open and underground communities in the Church in China,” he said.

“On the contrary, these two communities will gradually move toward reconciliation and communion on the aspects of law, pastoral care and relationships. The Church in China will work together to preach the Gospel of Jesus on the soil of China.”

In a letter published last week, Cardinal Tong noted that China and the Vatican had different interests, so would prioritise the remaining problems differently.

“The Chinese government is concerned with problems on the political level, while for the Holy See, the problems are on the religious and pastoral levels,” he said.

The Vatican and China, which severed diplomatic ties in 1951, have had on-again, off-again talks since the 1980s. Under Pope Francis, the two restarted a formal dialogue in 2014.

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