Honduran President Xiomara Castro said on Tuesday that she plans to seek diplomatic relations with China, exerting pressure on Taiwan days before its president visits the United States and Central America.
In a tweet, Castro said she had instructed the Honduran foreign ministry “to manage the opening of official relations with the Republic of China,” a move that would cut ties with Taiwan.
Castro, a democratic socialist who won in 2021, mentioned the idea of Honduras cutting ties with Taiwan during her electoral campaign. However, in January 2022, she said she planned to maintain the Central American country’s relationship with Taiwan.
Castro’s comments come days before a visit by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to Central America, where she plans to visit Guatemala and Belize. Additionally, Tsai is expected to visit the United States and meet with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
If the Central American country ends its ties with Taiwan, it will leave the island-nation with only 13 diplomatic ties around the world. Nicaragua was the latest country to cut ties with Taiwan in December 2021, declaring the island to be “an alienable part of Chinese territory.”
Taiwan could potentially lose Paraguay’s support if the opposition wins the next presidential elections in April. Presidential candidate Efrain Alegre has said he plans to open relations with China if he wins, in order to boost soy and beef exports.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry expressed “serious concerns” about Castro’s announcement and warned Honduras to not “fall into China’s trap” to destroy the long-standing friendship between the two countries.
“Taiwan is a sincere and reliable ally. Our country has always assisted Honduras in its national development to the best of our capabilities.
China’s only goal in developing relations with Honduras is to shrink our country’s international space, it has no sincere intentions to cooperate for the good of the Honduran people,” the ministry said in a statement.
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