Pope Francis visits World Trade Center

Pope Francis has expressed admiration for China and has declined to criticize its longtime one-child policy in a bid to heal decades of estrangement between Beijing and the Holy See and open a new era of dialogue.

Francis expressed both respect for and awe of China, its culture and its role in the world in an interview with the Hong Kong online daily Asia Times. It was published Tuesday in advance of next Monday's Chinese New Year.

The pope explained that his view of dialogue is one in which neither side compromises or carves out its foothold, but both decide to ``walk together'' respecting differences.

Francis has continued a Vatican's outreach to China that started under Pope Benedict XVI. Relations were severed in 1951 when the Communists took over.

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