On Thursday (23), Taiwan announced the recall of its ambassador to Honduras to protest the visit of the head of Honduran diplomacy to China, which symbolizes the loss of another Latin American ally, Taipei.
“Honduras has ignored more than 80 years of friendship (between Taipei and Tegucigalpa) by sending its foreign minister to China, which has deeply hurt the feelings of our government and people,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a phone call.
The text adds: “We decided to immediately contact our ambassador to Honduras to express our deep displeasure.”
This announcement comes after Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina visited China to discuss establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing.
China claims the democratic and self-governing island of Taiwan as part of its territory – which it intends to retake, including by force if necessary. On March 14, Honduran President Xiomara Castro announced that his country would establish “official relations with the People’s Republic of China.”
In the name of the “One China” principle, the communist power in Beijing does not accept the maintenance of diplomatic relations with countries that have relations with Taipei. Any recognition by the People’s Republic of China leads to the severing of relations between the country and Taiwan.
If Honduras formally secedes from Taiwan, the island will have only 13 countries with which it has formal diplomatic relations, having lost several Latin American allies in recent years.
Relations with Tegucigalpa
Honduran’s foreign minister traveled to China with Representative Xiomara Zelaya, daughter of the country’s president, three Honduran government officials and diplomats told AFP, on condition of anonymity. China’s Foreign Ministry did not confirm the visit, but its spokesman Wang Wenbin said Thursday that the country is “ready” to establish relations with Tegucigalpa.
“China appreciates the positive remarks made by the Honduran government on the development of relations with China, and stands ready to establish and develop bilateral relations with Honduras on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” Wang said.
Reina, on March 15, cited Honduras’ “enormous needs” and Taiwan’s refusal to increase its aid to the country to justify establishing ties with Beijing.
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with nearly 74% of its 10 million people living in poverty. Reina estimates that the country’s internal and external debt is US$20 billion (just over R$100 billion), of which 600 million is owed to Taiwan.
The change, which Castro had promised during his election campaign, took place a few weeks after the government announced that it was negotiating with China to build a hydroelectric power station.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Thursday, in response to questions from lawmakers about reports that Honduras has requested additional aid from Taipei, that his government is not willing to accept an “unreasonable request.”
“I’ll be honest, we’re in a very difficult situation. We’re still doing our best and we’re going to do our best until the last minute,” he said.
“But we will not accept any unreasonable request, whether from Honduras or any other country, especially if it is not transparent,” he added.
In a separate statement on the same issue, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the island “will not engage in dollar diplomacy with China.” He also wanted to “remind the Honduran government once again not to fall into the Chinese debt trap”.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will leave on March 29 for a 10-day trip to cement ties with two of her remaining allies in Central America, Belize and Guatemala, and will also stop in the United States.
On March 7, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy confirmed that he would meet with the president in California. The US State Department said the planned trip was a “transit” and not a “visit”. Beijing has expressed its opposition to this meeting.
“Proud explorer. Freelance social media expert. Problem solver. Gamer.”