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26 Mar, 2023 16:15

Honduras severs diplomatic relations with Taiwan

Just 13 nations still officially recognize the island, though many more including the US engage with its government
Honduras severs diplomatic relations with Taiwan

Honduras has ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan after decades of engagement with the contested island territory, the country’s Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday. The move comes less than two weeks after President Xiomara Castro revealed that Tegucigalpa would establish relations with Beijing.

“The government of Honduras recognizes the existence of just one China in the world, and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and as of today, the Honduran government has informed Taiwan of the severance of diplomatic relations, pledging not to have any official relationship or contact with Taiwan,” it added.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry hailed the decision as “the right choice” as the two countries’ foreign ministers signed a declaration in Beijing, with Foreign Minister Qin Gang holding it up as proof that the One-China policy is becoming “the general trend.” 

Qin warned Taipei that “engaging in separatists activities for Taiwan independence is against the will and interests of the Chinese nation and against the trend of history, and is doomed to a dead end.”

Following the announcement, Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, told a press conference that the island had ended its own relations with Honduras “to safeguard its sovereignty and dignity,” arguing that Castro’s government has had a “fantasy” about China since before she was elected in 2021.

Wu blamed greed for the central American nation’s shift in loyalties, claiming Honduras had asked Taiwan for $2.45 billion to build a hospital and a dam, as well as for a debt write-off, and compared its response unfavorably with China’s.

Analysts sympathetic to Taipei told the Associated Press that China’s promises of economic wins were “illusory” at best, claiming that other countries had been burned on pledges of investments and job creation. The US had issued similar warnings in the weeks leading up to the official announcement. Beijing has already contributed some $300 million and construction assistance through its state-owned SINOHYDRO to a hydroelectric dam project in Honduras. 

Honduras’ defection leaves just 13 countries offering full diplomatic recognition to Taipei, with nine nations having severed ties since the current president, Tsai Ing-Wen, was elected in 2016. Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of its sovereign territory and has vowed to peacefully reunify with the island, while reserving the right to use military force if necessary.