Holy See Has Diplomatic Relations With 174 Nations

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 174 countries -- but not with the world\'s most-populous nation.

The statistics were published in a communiqué issued today as Benedict XVI gave an address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

Among the diplomats meeting with the Pope today was a representative of the Russian Federation -- with which the Vatican does not yet have full relations -- and the director of the representative office of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Also present were representatives of the European Union and of the Order of Malta, whose sovereignty is recognized internationally.

When John Paul II became Pope in 1978, the Holy See had diplomatic relations with 85 countries.

Among the countries with which the Holy See does not yet have full diplomatic relations are China, Vietnam, North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

In an address to the diplomatic corps last May 12, Benedict XVI expressed the desire to see these nations \"represented before the Apostolic See\" as soon as possible.