U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to advocate for persecuted religious minorities in China while calling on the Vatican to reconsider renewing a deal with Beijing.

“Nowhere is religious freedom under assault more than it is inside of China today,” Pompeo said Wednesday in Rome, Italy. ”Nor of course have Catholics been spared this wave of repression.”

Pompeo’s latest remarks come as the Vatican and China are negotiating to renew a controversial 2018 agreement on the nomination of bishops. The terms of that deal have not been publicly revealed.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich greet Cardinal Raymond Burke,…