A few hours after Honduran President Xiomara Castro announced in a tweet that she would develop official relations with China, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) urged the Central American country to carefully consider the matter “so as not to fall into China’s trap” and undermine years of bilateral friendship.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of China (Taiwan) said that the only objective behind the Chinese government’s interest in developing ties with Honduras is to suppress Taiwan’s international space.
Until a few hours ago, Honduras was one of 14 states worldwide to diplomatically recognize Taiwan, a territory with 24 million people and with whom it has maintained official ties since 1941.
The other states are Belize, Guatemala, Haiti, Paraguay, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Vatican City, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, and Tuvalu.
China refuses to associate itself with these countries that recognize the Taipei government.
For now, the only official statements by the government regarding the establishment of diplomatic ties with China have been those made by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Honduras, Eduardo Enrique Reina, on Wednesday to the television program Frente a Frente, of Televicentro.
The Honduran Foreign Minister said that since the beginning of Castro’s administration in January 2022, they had proposed “in all this time a change in the vision of the relationship between Honduras and Taiwan, because a scheme based mostly on donations and projects had been created”.
According to the Chancellor, the programs proposed by Taiwan totaled US$50 million.
After the talks, it had been suggested to double the amount, “but it is still not enough, that is, the government’s position and that we formally proposed it to the Taiwanese government was the great needs of the government and the State of Honduras”.
Reina said that Honduras has a “debt that suffocates us”.
The official assured that in 2022 Honduras invested US$2,148.43 million just to pay the private debt, and this year, another US$ 2,310.57 million will have to be invested.
“Taiwan’s cooperation, to be frank, is equivalent to US$50 million, which is collected in Honduras in one day”, added the Chancellor.
THE NEEDS ARE ENORMOUS
Reina said that they made proposals to Taiwan for a mechanism to readjust or realign debt, “but unfortunately, the needs are enormous, and we have not seen this response and we said it very clearly from the beginning, Honduras will maintain relations with Taiwan and will not open relations with China as long as these are in the interest of the Honduran people.”
According to the official, given these needs and after more than a year of government, “we have to look for mechanisms and alternatives” so that “under the current scheme of the country’s situation, Honduras is not going to get out of the box we are in, we need investment, cooperation and we receive them from the United States and the European Union.”
“But we have to be aggressive, and Honduras enters late, and there are 171 countries that have relations with Mainland China”.
The Chancellor said that China is an economic reality.
“But it is not only from an economic and commercial point of view, but it also is a diplomatic reality, a political reality, that is, China participates in all major international organizations, financial, credit, so it is a power with which we have to engage”.
He added that the decision is not about choosing a power or a power, “I believe that we also have to get out of a mental scheme of the cold war in which we believe that it is with this one or with that one. We have to look for opportunities for the Honduran people”.
Through a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, China welcomed Honduras.
“Establishing diplomatic ties with China is the right choice that aligns with the historical and political trends of the time.”
China’s Global Times quoted Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, as saying at a press conference Wednesday that 181 countries around the world have established diplomatic relations with China based on the one-China principle, which “is willing to develop friendly and cooperative relations with all countries in the world, including Honduras.”
With information from Bloomberg