Xiomara Castro speaks after being sworn in as the new president of Honduras at the Tiburcio Varias Andino National Stadium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Jan. 27, 2022. EFE FILE/Bienvenido Velasco

Honduras officially cuts diplomatic ties with Taiwan

Tegucigalpa, Mar 25 (EFE).- Honduras officially cut ties with Taiwan on Saturday, ending a relationship it had held with Taipei since 1941, in favor of establishing a diplomatic relationship with China.

Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina said in a statement that the government “has communicated to Taiwan the decision to break diplomatic relations.”

The announcement comes 11 days after Honduras President Xiomara Castro ordered her foreign minister to establish diplomatic relations with China to comply with her government plan.

Honduras said that it “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.”

The statement from the Honduran foreign ministry emphasizes that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory,” which is why it has communicated to Taipei “the rupture of diplomatic relations, pledging not to have any official relationship or contact” with the island again.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Honduras, Eduardo Enrique Reina, participates in the EFE-Casa de América Tribune in Madrid, Spain, on Jun. 23, 2022. EFE FILE/ Chema Moya

China’s One China policy requires countries seeking diplomatic ties with Beijing to cut all ties with Taiwan, which it views as a rebel province of the mainland.

Before her inauguration as president on Jan. 27, 2022, Castro had said that it was not on her agenda to start relations with China.

However, Honduras’ foreign minister traveled to China on Wednesday to promote the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Asian giant, which led to Taiwan withdrawing its ambassador in Tegucigalpa.

A day later, Taiwan’s foreign ministry expressed its “strong dissatisfaction” with Reina’s trip, which “seriously hurt the feelings of the Taiwanese government and people.”

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during her visit to a Military base in Taiwan, 15 January 2021. EFE/EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Thursday that Honduras had “asked a high price” for maintaining diplomatic ties with Taipei, which was confirmed the same day by Honduran Vice Foreign Minister Tony Garcia.

Garcia said his country asked Taiwan for $2 billion to restructure its external debt and, according to unofficial accounts, also requested a hospital.

Honduras and Taiwan maintained a relationship of military, educational, and economic cooperation, and the island financed technical and agricultural aid projects and also hosted hundreds of Honduran scholarship holders at its universities.

Taiwan now has 13 countries with which it maintains official diplomatic relations. Honduras is the ninth country since 2016 to cut ties with the island in favor of China. EFE