Taiwan on Wednesday asked Honduras to “carefully consider” its decision to establish diplomatic ties with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), urging its Central American ally “not to fall into China’s snare.”
Honduran President Xiomara Castro de Zelaya said she had asked Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina “to manage the opening of official relations with the People’s Republic of China,” which will result in Honduras cutting ties with Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry expressed “grave concern” over Castro’s decision and warned that the only objective behind the CCP’s interest in developing ties with Honduras was to suppress Taiwan’s international presence.
“China has no intention whatsoever to promote cooperation that benefits the welfare of the Honduran people,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Taiwan asks that Honduras carefully consider the matter so as not to fall into China’s snare and make a flawed decision that will undermine its many years of bilateral friendship with Taiwan,” it added.
The ministry referred to Honduras as a “key diplomatic ally” of Taiwan and said the government would continue to strengthen communication with the Central American nation and all sectors of society in Honduras.
Castro’s announcement came just weeks after Honduras held bilateral talks with Beijing for the construction of a hydroelectric dam, over which Taiwan had expressed concern and warned of the CCP’s “false promises.”
Honduras is one of 14 countries with formal ties to Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing considers part of its territory and has vowed to seize by any means necessary. Other Central American nations like Belize and Haiti also recognize Taiwan.
Honduras and Taiwan had been diplomatic allies for 80 years as of 2021. Castro said during her campaign in 2021 that she would “immediately open diplomatic and commercial relations” with the CCP once becoming president. However, she later pledged to maintain relations with Taiwan.
The eight diplomatic partners that Taiwan has lost to Beijing since 2016 are: Nicaragua, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador.
‘China’s Advance Continues’
U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn) stated that Honduras’s decision to switch allegiance from Taiwan to Beijing demonstrates the CCP’s continued advancement under the Biden administration.
“China’s advance continues under Biden,” Hagerty stated on Twitter, citing National Security adviser Jake Sullivan’s remarks on Monday that the China-brokered deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran is “something that we think is positive.”
“Now, Beijing is getting its way in our own Hemisphere with Honduras moving to drop diplomatic relations with Taiwan [and] recognize the PRC,” he said, using the acronym for China’s official name, the People’s Republic to China.
“Will Jake Sullivan [and] the Biden administration welcome this damaging advance by Communist China too?” Hagerty added.
Honduras announced its decision ahead of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to Central America next month, which will include stops in Los Angeles and New York.
Tsai is expected to meet with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) during her visit.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it was “seriously concerned” about Tsai’s plans and demanded clarification from the United States.
“No one should underestimate the strong determination of the Chinese government and people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.
Taiwan is a constant source of friction between Beijing and the United States. The CCP staged military exercises around the self-ruled island in August last year following a visit to Taipei by then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
The United States has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
Frank Fang and Reuters contributed to this report.