TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Honduras President Xiomara Castro announced Tuesday that her government will seek to establish diplomatic relations with China, which would imply severing relations with Taiwan. The switch would leave Taiwan recognized by only 13 countries as China spends billions to win recognition for its “One China” policy.
Castro said on her Twitter account that she instructed Honduran Foreign Affairs Minister Eduardo Reina to start negotiations with China and that her intention is to “expand frontiers freely in concert with the nations of the world.”
Castro said during her presidential campaign in 2021 that she would look for ties with China if elected, but once in power, her government backtracked on those comments. In January 2022, the foreign affairs minister told The Associated Press that Honduras would continue strengthening ties with Taiwan and that establishing a diplomatic relationship with China was not a priority for Castro.
Reina, the foreign affairs minister, had said the government weighed up the benefits that Honduras had received from a good relationship with Taiwan and decided that there was no reason to change at that moment.
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had “expressed serious concerns to the Honduran government. Our country has made it clear to Honduras many times that Taiwan is a sincere and reliable cooperative partner to our allies. Honduras is requested to consider carefully and not fall into China’s trap or make wrong decisions that damage the long-term friendship between Taiwan and Honduras.”
Honduras would become the ninth diplomatic ally that Taipei has lost to Beijing since pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen first took office in May 2016. She is due to step down next year at the end of her second term.
Despite China’s campaign of isolation, Taiwan retains robust informal ties with more than 100 other countries, most importantly the United States.
Earlier this month, Micronesian President David Panuelo accused China of “political warfare” in a letter to other national leaders and discussed switching diplomatic allegiance from China to Taiwan in exchange for $50 million to recharge the tiny Pacific island nation’s trust fund.