Honduras breaks with Taiwan and recognizes Beijing

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Honduras breaks with Taïwan and recognizes Beijing

People are holding the national flags of Honduras and Taiwan during a protest at the National Taiwan University campus in Taipei on March 25, 2023.

China and Honduras established diplomatic relations on Sunday, a setback for Taiwan, which is still losing an ally and denounces Beijing's “coercion and intimidation”.

Tegucigalpa had announced a few hours earlier the severance of its ties with Taipei, which is now only recognized by 13 States in the world.

China and Honduras come from& #x27;establish diplomatic relations, tweeted Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She accompanies her short message with a photo of the Chinese minister of Foreign Affairs, Qin Gang, shaking hands with his Honduran counterpart Enrique Reina, currently in Beijing.

Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Reina, on the instructions of the President of the Republic [Xiomara Castro], communicated to Taiwan the decision to sever diplomatic relations between the two territories, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. published on Saturday evening.

The announcement comes two days after a visit to Beijing by Mr. Reina, supported by Ms. Castro, to discuss the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties.

Honduras Foreign Minister Enrique Reina.

China considers the island of Taiwan, with a population of 23 million, to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunite with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War.

Ended in 1949, the conflict pitted the Communists (who eventually took power in mainland China) against the Nationalist army (forced to retreat to the island).< /p>

In seven decades, the communist army could never conquer the island, which remained under the control of the Republic of China – the regime that once ruled all of China and now rules only Taiwan.

Anti-landing pickets on the beaches of the Kinmen Islands, testimony to past tensions. (File photo)

In the name of the one-China principle, Beijing does not allow foreign countries to maintain diplomatic relations with Taipei. The island has, however, partnered internationally through other channels.

“The government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes the existence of one China in the world, and that the government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing all of China.

— Enrique Reina, Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, the ministry said, adding that it pledged from Saturday to no longer have any official relationship or contact with Taiwan.

In response, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Sunday accused Honduras of having illusions about Chinese promises of economic aid.

China has not stopped trying to entice Honduras with financial incentives, he lamented at a press conference in Taipei.

The Chinese authorities have sought to diplomatically isolate Taiwan since 2016 and the election on the island of a president from a pro-independence party.

In recent years, Beijing has notably snatched several Latin American allies from Taipei, such as the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen aboard a frigate stationed at a naval base on November 8, 2018. (Photo by 'archives)

States that still have diplomatic relations with Taiwan include the Vatican, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Paraguay, Pacific island nations or Haiti again.

On March 15, Eduardo Enrique Reina invoked the enormous needs of Honduras and the refusal of Taiwan to increase its aid to justify the desire to establish relations with Beijing.

Recently elected, Xiomara Castro promised during her election campaign to recognize the People's Republic of China.

Beijing has been mounting military, economic and diplomatic pressure on Taipei since the coming to power of Tsai Ing-wen, re-elected in 2020.

She comes from a party traditionally favorable to the independence of the island, a absolute red line for the Chinese government, which threatens to intervene militarily to prevent such a scenario.

At the same time, international support for Taipei has however increased.

In recent years, several delegations of Western parliamentarians or ministers have thus visited the island, despite the #x27;absence of diplomatic relations between their countries and Taiwan.

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