On Tuesday, Honduran President Xiomara Castro announced that the Honduras government will sever ties with Taipei and establish an official relationship with Beijing.
Eduardo Enrique Reina, Honduras’ minister of foreign relations, said that they are “grateful” for their alliance with Taiwan, but their economic links to China have pushed their government to cut diplomatic ties with the island nation, according to The Associated Press.
“It is a complex decision, we understand, but Honduras’ foreign policy should seek to benefit the people. We believe that this step will benefit the country,” Reina said.
The minister noted that the Central American country previously asked Taiwan to renegotiate its debt to the island and double its annual aid to $100 million. Honduras has reportedly been struggling to pay its international debts, including a $600 million debt owed to Taiwan.
“Honduras’ needs are enormous, and we haven’t seen that answer from Taiwan,” Reina said, noting that the decision was about “pragmatism, not ideology.”
In response, Taiwan’s foreign ministry disagreed and claimed that Taiwan had been “actively” engaging in bilateral talks with the Honduras government.
“Our communication efforts with Honduras have never stopped. We urge Honduras, which is already suffering from debt problems, to not quench your thirst with poison and fall into China’s debt trap,” said the ministry in a statement.
On Wednesday, a state department spokesperson added: “The Honduran government should be aware that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) makes many promises that are unfulfilled.”
Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, said Honduras’ decision was “the right choice that accords with the trend of history and our times.”
Over the past two decades, China has invested in Latin American countries through major infrastructure, energy and space projects.
In Honduras, the East Asian country invested $298 million in a hydroelectric dam in eastern Honduras inaugurated in January 2021.
With Honduras’ diplomatic switch, Taiwan is left with only 13 diplomatic allies that recognize it as a country, including Belize and Guatemala.
China does not allow its diplomatic allies to recognize Taiwan as it regards the island as its territory.
The government has vowed to seize the island one day to “re-unify” it with China, by force if necessary.
In recent years, China’s threats have intensified under President Xi Jinping, resulting in Taiwan’s constant fear of Beijing’s invasion.