Thu, 30 Mar 2023

Washington reportedly hopes to talk Honduras out of severing diplomatic relations with Taiwan

The US is exerting its influence to try and get Honduras to change its mind on its recently announced plan to establish diplomatic relations with China, Reuters has reported. The Central American nation is one of fourteen countries globally that currently have ties with Taiwan instead. 

Beijing refuses to maintain official contact with states that recognize Taiwan in breach of its 'One China' policy. The Chinese government insists that the self-governing island is an inalienable part of its territory seized by separatists. 

In its article on Saturday, the media outlet, citing anonymous "sources close to the matter," claimed that Washington is hopeful that in the absence of any formal agreement, Honduran President Xiomara Castro could still retract the statement she made on Tuesday.

Reuters quoted an unnamed US government official as saying that there is so far little clarity on "whether it will be days or weeks or months," or if this is merely a "negotiating tactic." Whatever the case may be, Washington "will continue to make [its] case," the source added. 

One of the arguments the US is reportedly using to try to dissuade Honduras from switching its diplomatic allegiance to China is that countries in the region that have done so supposedly have not reaped the economic benefits they had hoped for. 

Since 2016, Panama, El Salvador and Nicaragua have established diplomatic relations with China. 

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, Castro revealed that she had instructed Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina "to manage the opening of official relations with the People's Republic of China" to join the rest of the world in "expanding the borders with freedom."

The Honduran president pledged to do so during her election campaign in 2021.

According to Reuters, the Honduran ambassador to Taiwan, Harold Burgos, met with Taiwanese diplomats on Wednesday. Taipei later said publicly that it had advised Honduras to "carefully consider the matter so as not to fall into China's snare and make a flawed decision."

Currently, only a handful of nations recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country, namely Guatemala, Paraguay, Belize, Haiti, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Eswatini, and the Holy See.

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