Honduras Announces Plans for Diplomatic Ties with China, Abandoning Taiwan

Fernando Vergara, File/AP; AFP

Radical leftist President of Honduras Xiomara Castro announced on Tuesday that she has instructed the nation’s top diplomat to establish official relations with communist China, likely rupturing an over 80-year alliance with Taiwan.

Honduras is one of only 14 countries to recognize Taiwan as a fellow nation. The government of communist China refuses to maintain any diplomatic relationship with countries that acknowledge the reality of Taiwan’s sovereignty. According to Beijing’s “One China Principle,” the People’s Republic of China – not the Republic of China, the formal name for Taiwan – is the only Chinese state in the world, and Taiwan is a province of China. China considers the democratically elected Taiwanese federal government a criminal “separatist” entity.

The United States, despite maintaining informal friendly ties with Taiwan, does not recognize its sovereignty. Washington follows a vague concept known as the “One China policy,” which asserts that only one China exists in the world, but does not clarify if it is headquartered in Taipei or Beijing.

Taiwan is a fully independent nation with its own military and political infrastructure. The island nation has never in its history been ruled by a government headquartered in Beijing. The current Chinese government, while regularly threatening to invade Taiwan, does not exercise any political authority over the country.

Castro, casually announcing a dramatic change in Honduras’ diplomatic posture via Twitter, has not elaborated at press time what sort of relationship Tegucigalpa is anticipating to build with the Chinese Communist Party.

“I have instructed Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina to initiate the establishment of official relations with the People’s Republic of China,” Castro wrote, “as a display of my determination to fulfill the Government Plan and expand the frontiers with freedom in concert with the nations of the world.”

The “Government Plan” is Castro’s policy portfolio, a wide array of far-left policies she asserts will help the impoverished country progress.

The Castro administration has not mentioned Taiwan or clarified if it intends to cut ties to the country. China does not, however, by policy accept requests for formal diplomatic relations from countries that recognize Taiwan. The government of China reacted enthusiastically to the announcement, despite its lack of details, suggesting that Honduras has indeed agreed to end its relationship with the island democracy.

“We welcome the statement by the Honduran side,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Wednesday. “The fact that 181 countries have established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of the one-China principle fully shows that establishing diplomatic ties with China is the right choice that accords with the trend of history and our times.”

“China is ready to grow friendly and cooperative relations with all countries including Honduras on the basis of the one-China principle,” Wang asserted.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Taiwan appeared to imply in a statement on the matter that Honduras had not formally cut ties to Taipei and that Taiwanese officials remained in communication with the Honduran government. The MOFA’s statement said that Taiwan had “expressed grave concern over the matter” and would work to “further strengthen communication with the government and all sectors of society of Honduras,” apparently maintaining communication.

The MOFA also warned Honduras not to trust the Chinese communist government.

“China has no intention whatsoever to promote cooperation that benefits the welfare of the Honduran people,” the statement read. “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.”

Castro, the wife of far-left former President Manuel Zelaya, became president herself in January 2022. Both Zelaya and Castro have openly supported the repressive, human rights-abusing regimes of fellow leftists in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and the couple fled to Nicaragua following Zelaya’s ouster from power in 2009. Castro herself has publicly honored late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez, who reportedly supported Zelaya following his fall from power.

President-elect Xiomara Castro arrives with her husband, former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted by a military coup, for Castro’s inauguration as the first female president in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, November 27, 2022. (Moises Castillo/AP)

Castro sent voters mixed messages on China while running for president last year, claiming changing allegiances away from Taiwan was not a priority, but expressing support for the idea of forging ties with Beijing. The Chinese state-run Global Times newspaper reported in December 2021 that Castro “promised that she would establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China,” but by January Castro was denying that doing so was on her agenda.

The Argentine news outlet Infobae noted on Wednesday that Castro sent Reina, her foreign minister, to the inauguration of socialist criminal Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as president in Brazil on January 1, where Reina maintained an informal meeting with Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Xie Feng – a meeting that may have led to this week’s announcement.

Honduras established diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1941 and has enjoyed a productive and cordial bilateral relationship in the over 80 years that have passed since then, which saw Taiwan evolve into one of the freest states in the world. The non-governmental organization Freedom House ranked Taiwan as a fully free country in its annual “Freedom in the World” report released this month, citing its “vibrant and competitive democratic system,” fully free media, and ability of citizens to engage each other economically.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) exchanges gifts with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 26, 2022. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.