VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican and Chinese foreign ministers met Friday in the highest-level encounter between the two sides following the 2018 signing of a landmark accord on Catholic bishop nominations.

The Vatican said Archbishop Paul Gallagher met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on the sidelines of a security meeting in Munich on Friday . The Vatican and China haven’t had diplomatic relations since the 1950s.

The Vatican said the talks covered the 2018 accord, the life of Catholics in China and the country’s efforts to combat the virus that has killed hundreds and sickened thousands in China and beyond.

A Vatican statement said both sides hoped for “increased international cooperation to promote civil cohabitation and peace in the world.” Human rights and intercultural dialogue were also discussed.

The Vatican has been criticized by conservatives and the retired archbishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, for penning the accord, saying the Chinese government has continued to crack down on the underground Catholic faithful.