CHINA/ HONDURAS/ TAIWAN: On Sunday, China established diplomatic relations with Honduras after the Central American nation severed its decade-long ties with Taiwan, as Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, blamed Honduras for demanding exorbitant sums before being persuaded by Beijing.
It had been expected for a long time that Honduras would cut ties with Taiwan after its foreign minister went to China last week to make connections and President Xiomara Castro said that her government would start diplomatic ties with Beijing.
China said that Qin Gang, its foreign minister, and Eduardo Enrique Reina, the foreign minister of Honduras, signed the agreement on diplomatic recognition in Beijing, ending ties with Taiwan that date back to the 1940s.
Late Saturday night, the Honduran foreign ministry released a short statement saying that Taiwan is “inseparable from Chinese territory” and that the People’s Republic of China is the only legal government that can speak for all of China.
China said that democratically run Taiwan is part of its territory and has no right to have relations with other countries. Taiwan strongly disagrees with this claim. China demands that the nations it has relations with acknowledge its stance.
On Sunday, speaking in Taipei soon after the announcement, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Honduran President Castro, who took office at the beginning of last year, and her administration had “always had illusions” about China and that China’s “luring” had never halted.
“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 programs provided by Taiwan and China,” said Wu.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a video speech that her country would not compete in “meaningless” dollar diplomacy with China.
“Taiwan’s people have proven 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,” said the President.
Wu said that on March 13, one day before Castro’s first statement, Honduras’s foreign minister wrote to Taiwan asking for a total of $2.45 billion in help, including the building of a hospital, a dam, and the forgiveness of debt.
Last week, Reina told the media that the $2.5 billion amount was “not a donation,” but rather “a negotiated refinancing mechanism.”
On Wednesday, Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen is scheduled to fly out for a delicate trip to the United States, Guatemala, and Belize. After the journey, it is anticipated that he will meet U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles.
Wu said that he had “high suspicions” about why the Honduran decision was made so close to Tsai’s trip abroad.
The US has warned other countries many times not to believe China’s promises of help as it grows its power in its backyard by pushing Taiwan’s allies out of Central America. Even though what Honduras did was its own decision, the U.S. State Department pointed out that China “often makes promises in exchange for diplomatic recognition that it does not keep.”
Ties between Honduras and Taiwan trace back to 1941, when the administration of the Republic of China, which is still used to refer to Taiwan, was still based in mainland China. Later, when it lost a civil war with Mao Zedong’s communists in 1949, it ran away to the island.
At the moment, Taiwan has diplomatic ties with only 13 countries. Most of these countries are poor and developing countries in Central America, the Pacific, and the Caribbean.
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