Honduras establishes ties with China after Taiwan break : NPR

Honduras Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina Garcia, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang shake hands after the two countries established diplomatic relations, at a ceremony at the Diaoyutai Guest House in Beijing Sunday, March 26 year 2023.

Greg Baker / AP

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Honduras Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina Garcia, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang shake hands after the two countries established diplomatic relations, at a ceremony at the Diaoyutai Guest House in Beijing Sunday, March 26 year 2023.

Greg Baker / AP

BEIJING — Honduras established diplomatic relations with China on Sunday after severing ties with Taiwan, which has grown increasingly isolated and is now recognized by only 13 sovereign states.

The foreign ministers of China and Honduras signed a joint communique in Beijing — a decision that China’s foreign ministry hailed as “the right choice.”

The diplomatic victory for China comes as rising tensions between Beijing and the United States, including China’s growing assertiveness over self-ruled Taiwan, signal growing influence by China. China in Latin America. The new relationship between China and Honduras was announced after the governments of Honduras and Taiwan made separate announcements that they were severing ties.

China and Taiwan have been stuck in a battle for diplomatic recognition since they split in a civil war in 1949, with Beijing spending billions of dollars to win recognition for the policy. one China”.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, to be controlled by force if necessary, and denies most contact with countries that maintain official relations with the island nation’s democracy. It threatens to retaliate against countries simply for increasing contacts.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said the establishment of relations proved that adherence to the “one China” policy was winning people’s hearts and was a “common trend”.

“We sternly inform the Taiwanese government that engaging in separatist activities for Taiwan’s independence is against the will and interests of the Chinese nation, against the trend,” he said. historical situation and will come to a dead end”.

Honduras’ foreign ministry said in a statement on Twitter that its government recognizes “only one China in the world” and Beijing “is the only legitimate government representing all of China.”

It added that “Taiwan is an integral part of the Chinese territory and to this day, the government of Honduras has informed Taiwan of the severance of diplomatic relations, pledging not to have any relations any official relationship or connection with Taiwan.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said at a news conference on Sunday that Taiwan had ended ties with Honduras to “protect its sovereignty and dignity.”

Wu said that Honduran President Xiomara Castro and her team had always had an “illusion” about China and raised the issue of switching relations before the presidential election in Honduras in 2021. Relations between Taiwan and Honduras used to be. stable, he said, but China has not stopped attracting Honduras.

Mr. Wu said Honduras had asked Taiwan for billions of dollars in aid and compared its proposals to China’s. About two weeks ago, the Honduran government sought $2.45 billion from Taiwan to build a hospital and a dam and write off the debt, he added.

He said: “The Castro administration rejected our nation’s long-standing support and relations and entered into negotiations to establish diplomatic relations with China. Our government feels pained. and regret”.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said her government would not “engage in a meaningless contest of dollar diplomacy with China.”

“Over the past few years, China has continuously used various measures to prevent Taiwan’s international participation, escalate military incursions, and disrupt peace and stability in the region,” she said. said in a recorded video.

Her office spokeswoman, Olivia Lin, said in a statement that the relationship between the two sides has spanned more than 80 years.

Analysts have warned of the implications of the nascent relationship between China and Honduras. Honduras-based political analyst Graco Pérez said Beijing’s story would highlight the benefits, including investment and job creation, “but it will all be an illusion.”

Pérez noted that several other countries have established such relationships, but “it turned out that it was not what was suggested.”

For decades, China has poured billions of dollars into investment and infrastructure projects across Latin America. That investment has translated into increased power for China and a growing number of allies.

In Honduras, it came in the form of a hydroelectric dam project in central Honduras built by the Chinese company SINOHYDRO with about $300 million in funding from the Chinese government.

Honduras is the ninth diplomatic ally that Taipei has lost to Beijing since pro-independence Tsai Ing-wen first took office in May 2016.

Taiwan still has relations with Belize, Paraguay and Guatemala in Latin America and Vatican City. Most of its remaining partners are island nations in the Caribbean and South Pacific, along with Eswatini in southern Africa.

Lorenzo Maggiorelli, professor in the department of political science and international relations of Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogotá, Colombia, wrote in several of these diplomatic recognitions thanks to Taiwan’s financial and technical aid in the 1980s and 1990s following the country’s exceptional economic growth. his research.

In 1998, Taiwan established a $240 million aid fund for its Central American allies in the hope of maintaining their support. Taiwanese businesses are also encouraged to invest in Central America to strengthen political ties, Maggiorelli writes.

Tsai is set to begin her 10-day tour on Wednesday with visits to Guatemala and Belize. Her delegation will also stop in New York and Los Angeles, Lin said last week. Taiwan’s Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Yui earlier said that the purpose of Ms. Tsai’s trip was to highlight the island’s friendship with the two Latin American countries.

Wu said he did not have any evidence that the timing of the announcement was related to Tsai’s trip but noted that “China seems to be doing this on purpose.”

Despite China’s isolationist campaign, Taiwan maintains strong informal ties with more than 100 other countries, most importantly the United States. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan but maintains that Taipei is an important partner in the Indo-Pacific.


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