Mon, Aug 23, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Premier reports Honduras is being courted by China

US$500 MILLION The nation's ally reported that China is offering dams and hydropower stations -- if Honduras is willing to change partners

CNA , MANAGUA, NICARAGUA

Taiwan Premier Yu Shyi-kun said on Saturday that he has asked the Economic Affairs Ministry to study Honduras' request for US$500 million in aid to build hydroelectric plants.

At a news conference at the end of his trip to three Taiwan diplomatic allies, Yu told a reporters that the aid request has put the government on the spot, as Beijing is trying to woo Honduras by offering the aid.

Yu, who visited Honduras Aug. 17-19, said Honduran President Ricardo Maduro made the request during their meeting in Tegucigalpa on Aug. 18 and said that China, in an effort to isolate Taiwan in the international community, has offered to build three dams and hydroelectric stations in Honduras at a cost of US$500 million.

The premier said China is trying to put to good use its engineering personnel and experience accumulated in building the Three Gorges Dam and hydroelectric stations, and Honduras is eager to ease its electricity shortage by tapping the power of its rivers.

Beijing recently sent two delegations to Honduras to explore the possibility of cooperation, Yu said.

Taiwan economic affairs Minister Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥), who accompanied Yu on the trip, told reporters that Taiwan's state-run Taiwan Power Co, which has helped Honduras in developing power stations over the last 27 years, will explore the possibility of investing in Honduras.

Small hydroelectric plants are generally unprofitable, Ho said, adding that the question of whether a large hydroelectric plant selling electricity to neighboring states is feasible in Honduras needs to be studied further by the company.

Before arriving in Managua on Aug. 19, Yu had already visited the Dominican Republic and Honduras.

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