- Honduras seeks official ties with China
- Risks Ahead, Shrinking Taiwan’s Pool of Allies
- Apart from Honduras, Taipei has formal relations with only 13 countries.
- Taiwan President to be in Central America in April
TEGUCIGALPA/TAIPEI, March 14 (Reuters) – Honduran President Xiomara Castro said on Tuesday he had instructed the country’s foreign minister to open official ties with China, a move that could further boost Taiwan’s dwindling pool of allies. threatens to downsize.
The leader of the Central American country touted the idea of cutting ties with Taiwan and starting ties with China during her election campaign, but said in January 2022 that she hoped to maintain ties with Taiwan.
China does not allow countries with which it has diplomatic relations to maintain official relations with Taiwan, which it claims as its territory without the right of state-to-state relations.
If Honduras breaks ties with Taiwan, it would leave the island with only 13 diplomatic allies.
Opposition Honduran lawmaker Tomas Zambrano told local TV that the decision would affect the country’s relationship with its top trading partner, the United States, noting that many families depend on remittances sent from the north.
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The US has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is its most important international supporter and arms supplier, a constant source of friction in Sino-US relations.
“We have to look at things very pragmatically and look for the best benefit for the Honduran people,” Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina told local TV on Tuesday.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it expressed serious concern to the Honduran government and urged it to carefully consider its decision and “not to fall into China’s trap”.
A source familiar with the situation in Taiwan said the island needed to exhaust “every means possible” to maintain diplomatic ties with Honduras.
China’s foreign ministry has yet to comment, but Chinese ambassador to Mexico Zhang Run tweeted that the one-China principle, which holds that China and Taiwan are part of one country, is the consensus of the international community.
Zhang said, “Congratulations to Honduras on this correct decision to adopt that principle! Hope it will be fulfilled.”
The announcement comes ahead of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen’s planned trip to Central America next month, where she is expected to visit Guatemala and Belize.
In December 2021, Nicaragua severed its long-standing ties with Taiwan, switched allegiance to China, and declared that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory.”
The US State Department at the time encouraged countries to maintain their ties with Taiwan, saying that Nicaragua’s decision did not reflect the will of the people because its government was not freely elected.
The US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Honduras.
Taiwan could lose another Latin American ally, Paraguay, if the opposition wins a presidential election in late April.
Paraguay will break ties with Taiwan and open ties with China, opposition presidential candidate Efrain Alegre has said, hoping to boost economically important soy and beef exports.
Reporting by Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa, Ben Blanchard and Sarah Wu in Taipei and Valentine Hilaire in Mexico City; Editing by Sarah Moreland, Sri Navaratnam and Himani Sarkar
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