BEIJING (AP) — Honduras struck diplomatic ties with China on Sunday after cutting ties with Taiwan, which is increasingly isolated and currently recognized by only 13 sovereign states, including the Vatican City.
Chinese and Honduran foreign ministers signed a joint communiqué in Beijing, and China’s foreign ministry hailed the decision as “the right choice.”
The new relationship comes amid heightened tensions between Beijing and the United States, including China’s tougher stance on the Taiwan Autonomous Region, and signals China’s growing influence in Latin America. ing. The new China-Honduras ties were announced after the Honduran and Taiwanese governments separately announced the severing of diplomatic ties.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Honduran government recognized “the only China in the world” and that Beijing was “the only legitimate government representing all of China”.
“Taiwan is an integral part of China’s territory, and as of today, the Honduran government has notified Taiwan of the severance of diplomatic relations and promised not to have official relations or contact with Taiwan,” it added.
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said at a press conference on Sunday that Taiwan had ended its relationship with Honduras to “defend its sovereignty and dignity.”
Wu said Honduran President Siomara Castro and his team have always had “fantasies” about China and raised the issue of diplomatic ties ahead of the 2021 Honduran presidential elections. Relations between Taiwan and Honduras were once stable, but China has not stopped its fascination with Honduras.
Honduras has asked Taiwan for billions of dollars in aid and compared its offer to China’s, Wu said. About two weeks ago, the Honduran government asked Taiwan for his $2.45 billion to build a hospital and a dam and write off debt, he added.
“The Castro administration has negotiated diplomatic relations with China, ending our long-standing support and relationship. Our government feels pain and regret,” he said.
Olivia Lin, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s presidential office, said in a statement that the relationship between the two sides has been going on for more than 80 years.
“China has long repressed Taiwan’s international space, unilaterally endangering regional peace and stability,” she said in a statement.
Analysts have warned of the implications of newly formed ties between China and Honduras. Honduran political analyst Graco Perez said Beijing’s explanation would highlight benefits such as investment and job creation, but that “it would all be an illusion.”
Perez said several other countries had such ties, but “it turned out to be not what was offered.”
For decades, China has poured billions of dollars into investments and infrastructure projects across Latin America. This investment has led to China’s growing power and increasing number of allies.
In Honduras, the Chinese company SINOHYDRO has built a hydroelectric dam project in central Honduras with approximately $300 million in Chinese government funding.
Honduras is the ninth diplomatic ally to lose Taipei to Beijing since pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May 2016.
China and Taiwan have been embroiled in a dispute over diplomatic recognition since the 1949 civil war split the two sides. The Chinese government has spent billions of dollars to gain approval for its One China policy.
China maintains that Taiwan is part of its territory and will be brought under its control by force if necessary, and has largely refused contact with countries that maintain formal ties with Taiwan’s democracy. there is It threatens reprisals against countries simply for increasing contact.
Taiwan still has relations with Belize, Paraguay, Guatemala and Vatican City in Central and South America. Most of the remaining partners are island nations in the Caribbean and South Pacific, along with Eswatini in southern Africa.
Tsai will begin a 10-day trip to Guatemala and Belize on Wednesday. Her delegation will also stop in New York and Los Angeles, Lynn said last week. Taiwan’s Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Yui said the purpose of Tsai’s visit was to emphasize the friendly ties between Taiwan and her two countries in Latin America.
Wu said there was no evidence that the timing of the announcement was related to Tsai’s visit, but “China seems to be doing this on purpose.”
Despite China’s campaign of isolation, Taiwan maintains robust informal ties with more than 100 other countries, most notably the United States. Although the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Taipei claims to be an important partner in the Indo-Pacific.
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