Children pose with a poster of Pope Francis entitled "Hello, Pope Francis!" during a photo exhibition at the Sejong Culture Center in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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Pope Francis Sunday championed a "creative" Catholicism in Asia that reflects the region's diversity, and urged countries like China and North Korea to respond by fostering a proper dialogue with the Vatican.Nearly a dozen Asian countries have no formal ties with the Holy See, including China -- the great elephant in the Vatican's Asian room -- which bars its Catholics from recognising the pope's authority.In March last year, China warned the newly elected Francis against interfering in China's internal affairs, "including under the pretext of religion".The pope had offered his blessings in a message to China's President Xi Xinping as his plane flew over China on its way to South Korea last week. Later in the day, the pope was to hold a mass for thousands of young Catholics gathered from around the region for Asian Youth Day.According to various reports, scores of Chinese Catholics were prevented from travelling to South Korea for the event, and Beijing also warned Chinese priests in attendance not to participate in any event involving the pope.
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