The U.S. ambassador to the Vatican has voiced support for the Catholic Church's push for more religious freedoms in China, saying Beijing should cooperate more openly with the Holy See.
Ambassador Francis Rooney said he is supporting the Church's mission to secure greater liberties for Catholics in China.
The announcement follows President Bush's trip to China, where he urged Beijing to allow greater "social, political and religious freedoms."
Pope Benedict has said he is interested re-establishing diplomatic ties with China, which were severed in 1951. But tensions escalated between the two sides in October, when Chinese officials refused to allow local bishops to travel to a Church gathering in Rome.
Some information for this story provided by AP.