Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said that Beijing hopes the pope, who was elected on Wednesday, will work with Chinese officials on improving relations. But, she said, the Vatican “must stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, including in the name of religion.”

She also said the Vatican must sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan before ties with Beijing improve. China considers Taiwan a renegade province that is part of its territory.

The Vatican, however, has resisted cutting ties to Taiwan and wants China to give assurances on granting religious freedom to China’s Catholics.