The government of Honduras has announced its decision to break its diplomatic relations with Taiwan and establish ties with China. The move leaves Taiwan recognized by only 13 sovereign states. Honduras’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that “the government of Honduras recognizes the existence of just one China in the world”, and that “Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory”. China and Taiwan have been battling for diplomatic recognition since their separation after civil war in 1949, with China working to win recognition for its “One China” policy.
The announcement by Honduras had been long-expected after its foreign minister’s trip to China last week and President Xiomara Castro’s statement that her government would establish ties with Beijing. Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu stated that President Castro’s government had “always had illusions” about China, while also accusing Honduras of seeking economic aid from both China and Taiwan. In response to Honduras’s decision to sever diplomatic ties, Taiwan will close its embassy in Honduras and withdraw its ambassador. President Tsai Ing-wen has accused China of “coercion and intimidation” in its efforts to suppress Taiwan’s international standing. The move leaves Taiwan with just 13 states officially recognizing it.
It appears that there are conflicting accounts regarding the role of aid in Honduras’ decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. While Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu claimed that the Honduran government had demanded $2.45 billion in aid from Taiwan in a letter dated March 13, the Honduran foreign minister Eduardo Enrique Reina disputed this claim, stating that the figure was a “negotiated refinancing mechanism” rather than a donation. Neither China nor Honduras made any mention of aid in their official statements regarding the switch in diplomatic recognition.