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Honduras will seek relations with China, putting pressure on Taiwan before the trip to the US.

  • Honduras will seek official ties with China
  • Move risks further shrinking Taiwan’s pool of allies
  • Apart from Honduras, Taipei has formal ties with only 13 countries.
  • President of Taiwan will arrive in Central America in April

TEGUCIGALPA/TAIPEI, March 14 (Reuters) – Honduran President Xiomara Castro said on Tuesday she had asked the country’s foreign minister to open official relations with China, putting pressure on Taiwan ahead of a sensitive visit by President Tsai Ing- Wen to the United States and Central America. America.

China does not allow countries with which it has diplomatic relations to maintain official ties with Taiwan, which it claims as its own territory without the right to state-to-state ties, a position Taiwan strongly disputes.

Castro had raised the idea of ​​initiating relations with China and cutting ties with Taiwan during his electoral campaign, but said in January 2022 he hoped to maintain ties with Taiwan.

If the Central American country ends relations with Taiwan, it will leave the island with only 13 diplomatic allies.

Honduran opposition lawmaker Tomás Zambrano told local television that the decision would likely affect the country’s relationship with the United States, its main trading partner, noting that many families depend on remittances sent from the north.

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The United States has no formal diplomatic ties to Taiwan, but it is its most important international patron and arms supplier, a constant source of friction in Sino-US relations.

“We have to look at things very pragmatically and seek the best benefit for the Honduran people,” Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina told local television on Tuesday.

Castro’s statement, made on Twitter, comes ahead of Tsai’s planned trip to Central America next month, where she is expected to visit Guatemala and Belize. More noticeably, she transit United States and meeting with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, which is likely to greatly anger China.

Answering questions from lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday, Chen Chin-kung, deputy head of Taiwan’s National Security Office, said he “did not rule out at all” the possibility that China might try to apply pressure before Tsai’s trip.

Taiwan has accused China of luring its allies with promises of large amounts of loans, which Beijing denies.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it had expressed great concern to the Honduran government and urged it to consider its decision carefully and not “fall into the China trap.”

A source familiar with the situation in Taiwan said the island needed to exhaust “all possible means” to maintain diplomatic relations 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 a single country, is the consensus of the international community.

“Congratulations to Honduras for this correct decision to embrace that principle! Hopefully it will be fulfilled,” Zhang said.

In December 2021, Nicaragua broke its long tradition ties to Taiwanchanging his allegiance to China and declaring 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 Nicaragua’s decision did not reflect the will of the people as its government was not freely elected.

The US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Honduras.

Taiwan could lose another Latin American ally, Paraguay, if the opposition wins presidential elections at the end of April.

Paraguayan would cut ties with Taiwan and open relations with China, opposition presidential candidate Efraín Alegre has said, hoping to boost major soybean and beef exports.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa, Ben Blanchard, Yimou Lee and Sarah Wu in Taipei and Valentine Hilaire in Mexico City; Edited by Sarah Morland, Shri Navaratnam and Himani Sarkar

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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