China welcomes move as Taiwan ally Honduras seeks ties with Beijing
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said China is willing to develop friendly relations with other countries, including Honduras, on the basis of the one-China principle
Beijing: China on Wednesday welcomed the Honduras government’s decision to establish ties with Beijing, which could mean snapping its long-standing diplomatic relations with self-ruled Taiwan, hours after the Central American country’s leader tweeted her government will begin negotiations to open official relations with its Chinese counterpart.
Earlier in the day, Honduran President Xiaomaro Castro tweeted that she had instructed foreign affairs minister Eduardo Reina to start negotiations with China and that her intention was to “expand frontiers freely in concert with the nations of the world.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Beijing welcomed the statement from Honduras.
Wang said China is willing to develop friendly relations with other countries, including Honduras, on the basis of the one-China principle.
“We welcome the relevant statement by the Honduran side,” Wang said.
“The fact 181 countries have established diplomatic relations with China based on the one-China principle shows it is the correct choice consistent with the times,” Wang said, according to state-run China Daily newspaper, at the regular ministry press conference on Wednesday.
Under the “one-China principle”, Beijing claims self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway part of its territory, does not accept official ties of a third country with the island, and has never ruled out using force to merge it with the mainland.
If the Honduran government does go through with cutting ties with Taiwan, the democratically-ruled island will remain with only 13 allies, mostly located in Latin America, the Caribbean islands, in the Pacific region, and one each in Africa and Europe.
Reacting to Castro’s announcement, Taiwan cautioned the Central American country not to fall into China’s “trap”.
“The only objective behind the Chinese government’s interest in developing ties with Honduras is to suppress Taiwan’s international space. China has no intention whatsoever to promote cooperation that benefits the welfare of the Honduran people,” the Taiwanese foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Taiwan asks that Honduras carefully consider the matter so as not to fall into China’s snare and make a flawed decision that will undermine its many years of bilateral friendship with Taiwan,” the statement added.
The Honduran leader’s sudden announcement comes weeks ahead of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s Central American tour in March, which also involves a stopover in the US, a move certain to irk Beijing.
Washington does not have official ties with Taipei but has strong business relations and is its main supplier of military equipment.
China has a history of reacting strongly against fresh ties between Taiwan and a third country.
Ties between China and Lithuania nosedived in 2021 after the latter, a nation of around 2.8 million people, allowed Taiwan to set up a “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania” – a de facto embassy – in capital Vilnius.
China retaliated by downgrading its diplomatic ties with the Baltic country.