Honduras opens ties with China, ends relations with Taiwan
Honduras has established diplomatic ties with China after ending its decades-long relationship with Taiwan.
In a brief statement late on Saturday, the Honduran foreign ministry said it recognised the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate government that represents all of China and that Taiwan is an “inseparable part of Chinese territory”.
China said its foreign minister, Qin Gang, and Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina signed the deal on diplomatic recognition in Beijing, ending relations with Taiwan dating back to the 1940s.
The ending of ties with Taiwan had been expected after the Honduran foreign minister travelled to China last week to open relations and President Xiomara Castro said her government would start ties with Beijing.
Speaking in Taipei, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Castro, who took office early last year, and her government had “always had illusions” about China and China’s “luring” had never stopped.
Taiwan’s foreign minister accused Honduras of demanding exorbitant sums before being lured away by Beijing.
“The foreign ministry and embassy grasped the relevant information and handled it carefully. However, the Castro government also asked us for billions of dollars in huge economic assistance and compared prices for assistance programmes provided by Taiwan and China,” Wu said.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, in a video statement, said Taiwan will not compete with China in “meaningless” dollar diplomacy.
“Taiwan’s people have proved to the world that we never cower from threats. Taiwan’s cooperation and links with allies and like-minded countries to jointly promote international well-being and security will only increase, not decrease,” she said.
Neither the Chinese nor the Honduran statements made mention of aid.
Wu said Reina wrote to Taiwan on March 13, the day before Castro’s original announcement, demanding a total of $2.45 billion in aid, including the construction of a hospital and a dam and to write off the debt.
“It felt like what they wanted was money, not a hospital,” Wu said.
The U.S. State Department said while the Honduran action was a sovereign decision, it was important to note China “often makes promises in exchange for diplomatic recognition that ultimately remain unfulfilled”.
“Regardless of Honduras’ decision, the United States will continue to deepen and expand our engagement with Taiwan,” it said in a statement.
Also Read: Honduras to open official relations with China
Relations between Honduras and Taiwan date back to 1941 when the government of the Republic of China, which remains Taiwan’s official name, was still in China before it fled to the island in 1949 after losing a civil war with Mao Zedong’s communists.
Taiwan now only has formal diplomatic relations with 13 countries, mostly poor and developing countries in Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
China lays claim to Taiwan and demands that countries with which it has ties recognise its position.