Tue, 03 Oct 2023

Taipei [Taiwan], March 25 (ANI): Taiwan's Ambassador to Honduras, Vivia Chang, on Saturday arrived home as ties between the two worsen, with the Central American nation preparing to switch diplomatic recognition from the self-governing island to China, reported Taiwan News.

Vivia told reporters that Taiwan had shown its utmost goodwill when she arrived at Taoyuan International Airport, reported Liberty Times.

In a statement, Taiwan's foreign ministry said it had recalled the ambassador to "express our strong dissatisfaction" over Honduras sending its foreign minister and a delegation to Beijing this week.

Fears about a break started on March 14 when President Xiomara Castro tweeted she had told Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina to start talks with China on opening official relations. Before winning the presidential election last year, she had hinted at a break with Taipei, reported Taiwan News.

The move "ignores the traditional friendship" between Honduras and Taiwan, which stretches back more than 80 years, and "seriously hurts the feelings of the Taiwan government and people," said the statement.

As Honduras decided to go ahead with sending Reina to Beijing, MOFA announced Thursday (March 23) it was recalling Chang to express its grave dissatisfaction.

Honduras President Xiomara Castro announced last week that her government will seek to establish diplomatic relations with China, which would imply severing ties with Taiwan.

China has welcomed Castro's announcement, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin saying Honduras was making the "right choice" that was "in line with the trend of historical development and progress of the times."If the break goes ahead, Taiwan will be left with 13 official diplomatic allies, with Guatemala and Belize the only partners in Central America. President Tsai Ing-wen was scheduled to visit both during a trip starting at the end of the month, reported Taiwan News.

Taiwan and China have been locked in a battle for diplomatic recognition since the sides split amid civil war in 1949 and China spends billions to win recognition for its "One China" policy.

Under Beijing's "One China" principle, no country may maintain official diplomatic relations with both China and Taiwan. Taipei maintains a similar policy, having cut ties in the past with countries that switched recognition to Beijing.

China considers self-ruled democratic Taiwan as a part of its territory, to be retaken one day -- by force, if necessary.

Honduras would become the ninth diplomatic ally that Taipei has lost to Beijing since pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen first took office in May 2016. She is due to step down next year at the end of her second term.

Despite China's campaign of isolation, Taiwan retains robust informal ties with more than 100 other countries, most importantly the US. (ANI)

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