China says it is "sincere" about establishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican, but has repeated a long-standing requirement that the Holy See acknowledge Taiwan as part of China.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Kong Quan, Tuesday expressed hope that under the new pope, the Vatican will create favorable conditions for establishing relations. But he said the Vatican must recognize Taiwan as an "inseparable part of China."

Pope Benedict last week invited countries without diplomatic relations with the Vatican to establish ties soon. He did not name the countries, but China, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam are among the nations that do not have diplomatic ties with the Vatican.

China broke relations with the Vatican after the communists took power more than 50 years ago. The Vatican, meanwhile, has maintained full diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.