Honduras has formally cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, its ministry of foreign affairs announced Saturday.
“The government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes the existence of a one-China in the world and that the government of the People’s Republic of China represents China as a whole,” it said in a statement.
“Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory and as of today, the government of Honduras has informed Taiwan about the rupture of diplomatic relations,” it added.
China refuses to maintain diplomatic ties with any country that recognizes Taiwan and has spent much of the past 40 years attempting to isolate the self-ruled island by chipping away at its diplomatic allies with offers of economic support.
Honduras had until now been one of just 14 countries that still diplomatically recognized Taipei over Beijing.
Honduran President Xiomara Castro announced on March 14 that the country would establish diplomatic ties with China – a move spelling the end of its relationship with Taiwan.
Castro, a democratic socialist, won a landslide victory in 2021 after campaigning on a radical agenda to counter years of governance plagued by corruption and scandal. She promised to alleviate poverty and liberalize abortion laws.
During her presidential campaign, Castro said in her foreign policy manifesto that the Central American country was looking to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing.
China’s Communist Party claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory despite having never controlled the island and has not ruled out using force to one day take it.
Under leader Xi Jinping, China has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan, including enticing Taipei’s allies to switch their allegiance.
Taiwan had 56 diplomatic allies when it lost recognition from the United Nations in 1971. That number had dwindled to just 22 when its current President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016 and has continued to fall in the years since.
Most of Taiwan’s remaining allies are now small nations in Latin America and the Pacific, with all of the world’s most powerful economies having switched recognition to Beijing decades ago.
Beijing now uses China’s huge market as both a carrot and a stick to peel away the remaining countries.
When the Solomon Islands switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 2019, the Pacific country was offered $8.5 million in development funds by China to do so, according to Reuters.
Paraguay, the biggest country among Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic allies, has on the other hand faced restrictions in exporting soy and beef to China. Its president, Mario Abdo Benítez, openly called on Taiwan to invest $1 billion in his country last year so that it could continue to resist the “enormous” pressure on it to abandon the alliance.
This is a breaking news story. More to come