Peking, Tegucigalpa, Taipei Honduras has severed decades of diplomatic ties with Taiwan and is turning to China. Honduras recognizes the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole representative for all of China, the Central American country’s foreign ministry said late Saturday. Taiwan is part of China and cannot be separated from it.
China confirmed diplomatic relations with Honduras. A corresponding agreement was signed in Beijing by the foreign ministers of both countries, Qin Gang and Eduardo Enrique Reina.
Honduras’ decision may have been made for economic reasons. Taiwan said Honduras had demanded large sums of money before turning to China.
With the break with Honduras, Taiwan still maintains formal diplomatic ties with 13 countries, mostly poorer developing countries in Central America and the Caribbean and Pacific region. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and cracks down on any country that disregards its one-China policy and maintains ties with the democratically-ruled island. Germany also only has an unofficial representation in Taiwan.
The United States, which is considered Taiwan’s protecting power, promised the country further support. The Foreign Ministry said it was a sovereign decision by Honduras. It pointed out that China often makes promises of diplomatic recognition but fails to fulfill them.
$2.45 billion from Taiwan
Taiwan is not competing with China in useless “dollar diplomacy,” the country’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a video message. The Taiwanese people have proven that they do not shy away from threats. “Taiwan’s cooperation and connections with allies and like-minded people to jointly promote international well-being and security will not decrease but will increase.” Tsai travels to Central America next week. She will also make a stop in the USA.
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Neither China nor Honduras mentioned financial aid. Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Honduras had asked Taiwan for $2.45 billion. This was intended to build a hospital and a dam and write off debts.
“It seems they wanted money, not a hospital,” says Wu. There had already been reports of the money demands before the decision was made. Honduran Foreign Minister Reina denied this to Reuters. Rather, his country asked Taiwan to buy Honduran government debt.
Honduras’ break with Taiwan had been expected. President Xiomara Castro announced in mid-March that she wanted to establish relations with China. Honduras’ relations with Taiwan date back to the 1940s.
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