BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday expressed the hopes that the new pope-elect can help strengthen China-Vatican relations.
Speaking at a daily press briefing, Hua Chunying said, "The stance of the Chinese government on China-Vatican relations is consistent and clear.
She expressed the hope that the Vatican makes joint efforts with China to create conditions for the improvement of bilateral ties under the leadership of the new pope.
China hopes the Vatican can adopt a flexible and pragmatic attitude as well as take concrete actions to gradually remove barriers affecting relations between the two sides, Hua said.
Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 77, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected pope on Wednesday on the second day of secret ballots in a cardinals' conclave held in Vatican City.