He had sought scrapping of Sino-Vatican deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revived a spat with the Vatican on Wednesday during a visit to Rome, calling on the Pope to take a stand against China on religious freedom.

Mr. Pompeo is not meeting Pope Francis because the pontiff avoids such audiences in campaign periods, a Vatican source said.

Analysts say the Pope has been angered by Mr. Pompeo’s public calls for a historic Vatican-China accord to be scrapped.

Instead, Mr. Pompeo spoke at a symposium organised by the Holy See’s U.S. Embassy, where he renewed an appeal for the Vatican to take a stand against China. “Nowhere is religious freedom under assault more than in China,” said Mr. Pompeo, an evangelical Christian.

“I call on every faith leader to find the courage to confront religious persecution,” he said.

Mr. Pompeo had gone on the offensive earlier this month, calling a Sino-Vatican 2018 agreement on appointing bishops, which is up for renewal, a risk to the church’s “moral authority” given Beijing’s human rights record.

Pope Francis has been working hard to repair ties with China and the Vatican has not appreciated Mr. Pompeo’s public interference.

Mr. Pompeo also met Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte to discuss U.S. efforts to deter allies from using equipment made by Huawei in developing their 5G networks.



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