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Honduras breaks diplomatic ties with Taiwan

March 26, 2023

The Honduran government said it views the island as "an inalienable part of Chinese territory." Taiwan then announced it would close its embassy in Honduras and withdraw its ambassador there.

 Honduras and Taiwan national flags fly at a square in Tegucigalpa.
The national flags of Honduras and Taiwan fly in a square in TegucigalpaImage: ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP

Honduras announced an end to its decades old diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, just days after saying that it would establish ties with China

A statement from the Foreign Ministry of Honduras on Saturday said: "The government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes the existence of only one China in the world, and that the government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China."

"Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory," the ministry added. 

"As of this date, the government of Honduras has communicated to Taiwan the rupture of diplomatic relations, committing to no longer having any relationship or contact of an official nature with Taiwan,"  the statement said. 

What is Honduras' strategy in ending relations with Taiwan?

Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Reina visited China earlier this week to open ties after President Xiomara Castro said her government would start relations with Beijing. 

China claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as a part of its territory, to be retaken one day —  by force, if necessary. 

China on Sunday then established formal diplomatic relations with Honduras, shortly after Tegucigalpa officially severed ties with Taipei. 

"China and Honduras just established diplomatic relations," Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said on Twitter. 

How has Taiwan reacted?

In a media briefing held shortly after Honduras' decision, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Sunday accused Castro of being misled by Chinese promises of financial assistance for her country.

"President Castro and her ruling team have been harboring illusions on China and had brought up the issue of switching recognition on the campaign trail," Wu told journalists in Taipei.

"China has not ceased its attempts to lure away Honduras with financial incentives."

Wu also said that Taiwan had ended its relations with Honduras to "safeguard its sovereignty and dignity."

The foreign minister added that Taiwan would close its embassy in Honduras and withdraw its ambassador there.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said in a recorded video that her government would not "engage in a meaningless contest of dollar diplomacy with China."

"Over these past few years, China has persistently used various means to suppress Taiwan's international participation, escalate military intrusion, and disrupt peace and stability in the region," she said.

Before Saturday's move, Honduras was one of the 14 nations that formally recognized Taiwan. 

Since Tsai took office in 2016, nine former Taiwan allies have switched sides and established relations with China, amid economic incentives from Beijing.

dvv/ar (AFP, Reuters)