Honduras Leaves Taiwan For China, Taipei Describes Demands As “Bribe-Like”
On Sunday, China established diplomatic ties with Honduras after the Central American country severed ties with Taiwan, while Taiwan’s foreign minister accused Honduras of demanding exorbitant sums before being enticed away by Beijing.
Honduras’ connections with Taiwan were expected to be severed after the Honduran foreign minister visited China last week to establish relations and President Xiomara Castro stated that her government will establish relations with Beijing.
China claimed its foreign minister, Qin Gang, and Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina signed the agreement on diplomatic recognition in Beijing, effectively terminating relations with Taiwan that had existed since the 1940s.
The Honduran Foreign Ministry announced in a brief statement late Saturday that it acknowledged the People’s Republic of China as the only legal government representing all of China and that Taiwan is a “inseparable part of Chinese territory.”
China claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory with no right to state-to-state ties, a position Taipei strongly rejects. China demands that countries with which it has ties to recognise its position.
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in Taipei that Castro and her government had “always had illusions” about China and that Beijing’s “luring” had never ended.
“The foreign ministry and embassy grasped the relevant information and handled it carefully. However, the Castro government also asked us for billions of dollars in huge economic assistance and compared prices for assistance programmes provided by Taiwan and China,” Wu said.
In a statement, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen stated that Taiwan will not compete with Beijing in “meaningless” dollar diplomacy.
“Taiwan’s people have proved to the world that we never cower from threats. Taiwan’s cooperation and links with allies and like-minded countries to jointly promote international well-being and security will only increase, not decrease,” she said.
In a news conference, Wu stated that on March 13, he received a letter from Reina requesting $350 million for a hydroelectric dam and $90 million for a hospital, which had been doubled from an initial $45 million without reason. Reina also requested that Taiwan assume $2 billion of Honduras’ national debt, according to Wu.
According to Wu, the Honduran government demanded direct financial support, despite Taiwan’s regular practice of being involved in the construction, purchasing of materials, and follow-up operations of infrastructure projects in allied countries.
Such activities, according to the foreign ministry, are unacceptable in Taiwan, as “giving money directly [to a government] is like offering bribes.”
“It felt like what they wanted was money, not a hospital,” Wu added.
Tsai is expected to travel on a critical visit to the United States, Guatemala and Belize on Wednesday. At the end of her journey, she is scheduled to meet with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles. Wu said he was “highly suspicious” about the Honduran decision being made so close to Tsai’s international trip.
While the Honduran action was a sovereign decision, the US State Department wants to note that China “often makes promises in exchange for diplomatic recognition that ultimately remain unfulfilled”.
“Regardless of Honduras’ decision, the United States will continue to deepen and expand our engagement with Taiwan,” the State Department said in a statement.
Wu accused Beijing of making “ostentatious commitments” on a regular basis in order to entice Taiwan’s diplomatic partners to transfer diplomatic recognition. Yet, once China has achieved its diplomatic goals, it frequently fails to keep its promises, leaving some beneficiary countries in debt.
He stated that, in contrast to China, Taiwan would only approve projects that serve the people and national interests of its allies, of which there are currently just 13 left.
With the breakup of relations with Honduras, Taiwan has lost nine diplomatic allies to China since Tsai took office in May 2016.
Information for this briefing was found via Reuters, CNA, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.