President Xiomara Castro announced on Tuesday that Honduras would establish “official” relations with Beijing, and Taipei immediately asked not to make this “bad decision.”
“I have instructed Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina to manage the opening of official relations with the People’s Republic of China,” Ms. Castro declared on Twitter, without explicitly referring to the future of relations with Taipei.
Communist China, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan, does not accept that countries have diplomatic relations with it and with Taipei. Any recognition of Beijing by any country leads to a de facto estrangement between it and Taiwan.
“We ask Honduras to think carefully and not fall into China’s trap by making a bad decision that will harm the long-standing friendship between Taiwan and Honduras,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Xiomara Castro, who took office in early 2022, announced his intention to recognize communist China “immediately” before coming to power.
France Press agency
But Tegucigalpa later said that relations with Taiwan continue, after Taiwanese Vice President William Lai visited Mrs. Castro’s inauguration.
Honduran analyst Raul Pineda noted that Castro’s tweet “does not make it clear what kind of relationship” Honduras wants to establish with Beijing. He added, “If it comes to diplomatic relations, it will lead to severing relations with Taiwan and distancing itself from the United States.”
“Currently, Sino-US relations are very tense, and from this point of view it would be a very unfortunate decision” by Ms. Castro’s government, said this analyst.
Dams funded by Beijing
On January 1, the head of Honduran diplomacy met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng, on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
On February 2, Mr. Reina announced negotiations with China to build a hydroelectric dam, while denying that Tegucigalpa wanted Beijing to be recognized diplomatically.
Beijing had already financed another $300 million dam in Honduras, which President Juan Orlando Hernandez will open in 2021.
Latin America has been an important diplomatic battleground between Beijing and Taipei since 1949, when the Communists took power in mainland China and the Nationalist government took refuge on the island of Taiwan.
And in alliance with Washington, all Central American countries for decades remained attached to Taiwan. But at present, only Honduras, Guatemala and Belize maintain relations with the island. Costa Rica (in 2007), Panama (2017), El Salvador (2018) and Nicaragua (2021) separated from Taipei and recognized Beijing.
Only 14 countries in the world recognize Taiwan, including Paraguay, Haiti, the Vatican, and many small island nations in the Caribbean and Pacific.
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