The Holy See and the Beijing government have jointly announced a two-year extension of the 2018 agreement, which expires on Thursday. The agreement is «exclusively the issue of the appointments of bishops» and does not address other matters «that still concern the Church.» He reminded his audience that after decades of negotiations, the agreement is not just «a point of arrival»; it is above all «a starting point» for the Church in China and Sino-Vatican relations. Pope Francis, attached to the culture of dialogue and encounter and opposed to confrontation, gave the green light to the extension, despite the pressure of denouncing the agreement. External pressure was exerted by various political actors, including the United States, as expressed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while internal pressure was exerted by parts of the Church, including cardinals such as Joseph Zen of Hong Kong and Gerhard Muller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In addition, the details of the agreement have been largely kept confidential, to the dismay of some critics of Pope Francis. ROME – The Vatican said Thursday it has extended an agreement with Beijing on the appointment of bishops in China, weeks after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to the Vatican to kill him on an unsuccessful mission. In an article published in L`Osservatore Romano on the day of the announcement of the extension, the «priority objective» of the agreement on the appointment of bishops in China is to «maintain and promote the proclamation of the Gospel in this country and to restore the full and visible unity of the Church.» He added that «the main motivations» that guide the Holy See in its dialogue with the Chinese authorities «are fundamentally ecclesiological and pastoral,» because the issue of the appointment of bishops «is essential for the life of the Church, both locally and universally.» On September 22, 2018, the Chinese government and the Vatican signed a landmark agreement on the appointment of bishops in China.  The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the agreement was aimed at maintaining communication and improving relations between the parties.  They had no diplomatic relations and the Vatican had diplomatic relations with the Republic of China with Taiwan which the People`s Republic of China does not recognize.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke called the agreement «not political but pastoral, allowing the faithful to have bishops who are in communion with Rome but are at the same time recognized by the Chinese authorities.»   While the agreement states that China will recommend bishops before they are appointed by the Pope, it also states that the Pope has the power to veto a bishop that China recommends.  Francis then approved seven bishops appointed by Beijing after withdrawing the ecclesiastical notes against these six bishops and a recently deceased bishop, all of whom had received episcopal ordination without the pope`s consent.   On 23 September, the Catholic Church in China pledged to remain loyal to the Chinese Communist Party.  On September 26, Pope Francis wrote in a letter to Chinese Catholics:  «The document, if it were known to all — we can know that they went to Beijing,» Zen said. «It`s a bad deal. That`s why they don`t show anyone. «I think they have now started to discuss diplomatic relations» after renewing the agreement on bishops, Cardinal Joseph Zen said in a recent interview with Dem Nikkei Asia, quoting Antonio Spadaro, a close associate of Pope Francis, on the two-year timetable.