Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said that her country refuses to “engage in a meaningless contest of dollar diplomacy with China” after Honduras opened ties with Beijing on Sunday, ending relations with Taiwan that date back several decades.
“It is with deep regret that today we end our diplomatic relations with Honduras,” Tsai said in a statement on Sunday. “These past few years, China has persistently used any and all means to suppress Taiwan’s international participation, intensify its military intimidation against Taiwan, and disrupt regional peace and stability.”
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Honduran President Xiomara Castro of trying to start a bidding war for their diplomatic relations, with the Central American country allegedly asking for billions in aid.
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“The Castro administration demanded massive amounts of economic aid, totaling billions of US dollars, and weighed Taiwan’s assistance proposals against those submitted by China,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
“Based on the long-standing friendship between the two countries, Taiwan proposed assistance programs with the greatest sincerity and to the best of its capabilities. But Honduras continued to make willful and peremptory demands, even publicly releasing incorrect information, causing harm to the government of Taiwan.”
China, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory under its “one-China principle,” dismissed the allegations that it had bought Honduras’ diplomatic relations.
“The remarks are preposterous and groundless. Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Reina said in a recent interview that President Castro made the decision to grow relations with China in response to the trend of the world and in light of the realities of Honduras,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Thursday. “The one-China principle represents the prevailing trend of the world and has the overwhelming support of the international community.”
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Castro, a socialist who became president last year, originally said on March 14 that she had instructed Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina to open relations with Beijing, explaining that it was a sign of her “determination to comply with the Government Plan and expand the borders freely in concert with the nations of the world.”
Taiwan now only has formal relations with 13 nations, including seven in Latin America and the Caribbean. Nicaragua, which shares a border with Honduras, cut ties with Taiwan in December 2021, saying at the time that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory.”
In a warning to other countries, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused China on Sunday of making “ostentatious commitments to lure Taiwan’s diplomatic allies into switching diplomatic recognition.”
“However, once China achieves its diplomatic objectives, it often fails to uphold its pledges, leaving some beneficiary countries mired in debt,” the ministry said in a statement.