Mon, Nov 18, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Legislator says Honduras may sever ties

‘ONE-SIDED’ TRUCE:TSU Legislator Huang Wen-ling cited Honduran media reports the nation was mulling ties with China, saying it showed Ma’s ‘diplomatic truce’ had failed

By Lee Yu-hsin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Recent actions and comments by officials and reports in La Prensa newspaper in the Republic of Honduras indicate that the nation may become the next to break diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (ROC), following the unexpected severance of diplomatic ties with the Gambia, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) said yesterday.

Huang said that she had received calls from Taiwanese businesspeople and expatriates in Honduras that in May, La Prensa ran an article titled “Diplomatic ties between Taiwan and Honduras may be terminated,” reporting that the Honduras was mulling terminating relations that the two nations have shared for more than 52 years.

Another report in August said that the Honduran foreign minister had reiterated the nation’s interest in pursuing official diplomatic ties with China, although there was no mention of whether Honduras was actively considering sacrificing Taiwan, Huang said.

La Prensa is the biggest newspaper in Honduras, and even helped Taiwan advocate for its cause in the conflict between Taiwan and the Philippines earlier this year, when Philippine Coast Guard personnel shot at the Taiwanese fishing boat Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, killing Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成), by running photographs of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) visiting Hung’s family, Huang said.

That just a few months later, it would print an article quoting Honduras’ foreign minister expressing interest in establishing formal diplomatic ties with Beijing shows that China was still trying to isolate Taiwan from the international community, despite Ma’s “diplomatic truce” with China, Huang said.

Since Ma assumed office in 2008, the diplomatic tussle with China has only ended with defeat after defeat for Taiwan, Huang said, citing failed cooperation on a railway project in Honduras as an example.

Taiwan had promised to help Honduras with the railroad, but failed to deliver, and in July, Honduras signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese company to develop the railroad system, planning to construct more than 10 lines, with one even exceeding 40km and linking the most important harbors in the Caribbean and the Pacific by rail, Huang said.

The railroad would allow Honduras to increase its cargo storage volume by establishing more than 240,000 new cargo depositories, which would greatly influence Honduras’ transportation and economic development, Huang said.

The so-called diplomatic truce is only one-sided, and the Gambia’s move to sever ties is perhaps only the beginning of a domino effect as China continues to lure Taiwan’s diplomatic allies away.

In other developments, the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee invited Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) to report on the severance of diplomatic ties by the Gambia.

Huang asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to not only explain why the Gambia severed diplomatic ties, but to punish the responsible ministry officials.

Huang also called on the ministry to come up with ideas on how to stabilize Taiwan’s relations with its remaining 22 diplomatic allies.

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