Taiwan to recall ambassador from Honduras to protest China trip

Beijing, Mar 23 (EFE).- Taiwan Thursday said it would recall its ambassador from Honduras in protest against the Central American nation sending a delegation to Beijing to promote diplomatic ties with China.

The Taiwan foreign ministry said the trip to Beijing by Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina “seriously hurts the feelings of the Taiwan government and people.”

“To express our strong dissatisfaction, our government has decided to recall the ambassador immediately,” a foreign ministry statement said.

Honduran President Xiomara Castro tweeted last week that she ordered Reina to promote diplomatic relations with China, which would mean severing ties with Taiwan.

The Taiwanese government Wednesday said it received an official notification from Honduras regarding the end of its diplomatic ties.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu warned Honduras not to “fall into the Chinese debt trap.”

The foreign ministry statement said its government had been “actively negotiating bilateral cooperation with the Honduran government within the scope of its capabilities” since Castro took office.

“The Honduras government has ignored more than 80-year friendship between the two countries.”

Wu admitted that the relationship between Taiwan and Honduras was “indeed facing difficulties,” adding that its diplomats were trying “their best” to restore the bilateral ties.

“But we cannot compete with China in dollar diplomacy,” he said.

“China is suppressing Taiwan’s diplomatic space, and there are signs of the Chinese intervention in Honduras,” said Wu.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin denied the allegation that Beijing had bribed Honduras to influence its foreign policy decisions, indicating that Tegucigalpa’s move was independent and in sync with the “general global trend.”

The severing of ties with Taiwan by Honduras would reduce to 13 the number of countries with which Taipei maintains official diplomatic relations.

Honduras has become the night country in the world, and the fifth in Latin America, to establish a diplomatic relationship with China and cut ties with Taiwan.

Four Latin American countries, Panama, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua, broke off relations with Taiwan in recent years for China.

The countries with which Taiwan maintains diplomatic relations are Guatemala, Ciudad del Vaticano, Haiti, Paraguay, Esuatini, Tuvalu, Nauru, San Vicente and Granadinas, San Kitts and Nevis, Santa Lucia, Belice, Marshall Islands, Palau.

China considers the self-ruled island part of its territory.

Beijing says it reserves the right to use force to reunify Taiwan, even as a peaceful merger would be its first choice.

The island was the refuge of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) forces after losing the civil war with the Communists, who, since then, have claimed sovereignty over the territory.

In 1979, Washington broke diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing. However, the American Institute in Taiwan operates as a de facto embassy in Taipei. EFE

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