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.
PRIORITY GROUPS: A line of people were waiting at the Good Liver Clinic, apparently to get shots, while the CECC announced more priority groups for jabs The Taipei-based Good Liver Clinic is to be fined NT$2 million (US$72,028) after giving free COVID-19 vaccine shots to people not in groups eligible to receive them, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday. The Zhongshan District (中山)-based clinic was removed from the city’s list of vaccination venues and health officials would be investigated for giving 1,113 doses to the clinic, Huang told an afternoon news conference at Taipei City Hall. The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Tuesday in an exclusive story citing an anonymous tip reported that a Taipei clinic was doling out unused vaccines. People in
PHASE 2: The firm’s CEO said that the results were good and the experimental vaccine safe, but added that hoped-for phase 3 trials would be expensive Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) yesterday reported positive results from an interim analysis of phase 2 trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the vaccine demonstrated high seroconversion rates and geometric mean titer (GMT) figures. A seroconversion rate is the percentage of participants in a trial displaying virus-specific immune memory after being given a vaccine, while the GMT measures the level of neutralizing antibody response, Medigen said. The experimental vaccine has a seroconversion rate of 99.8 percent and its GMT was 662 among the participants aged 20 to 89, while the gauges rose to 99.9 percent and 733 respectively in participants aged
ROLLING OUT DOSES: The expansion aims to speed up Taiwan’s vaccination drive by making more Moderna jabs available to workers at hospitals, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers in the highest vaccine priority group. The center said that 75,000 doses of the vaccine — half of the first batch Taiwan has received — were on Wednesday distributed to hospitals across the nation with specialized COVID-19 rooms, negative pressure wards and testing services. Thus far, they had only been offered to frontline healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers at the designated hospitals, it said. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the eligibility was
NUMBERS HAVE FALLEN: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said there are good signs, but ‘we cannot afford to let our guard down now’ The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 219 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and 22 deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the 219 local infections — 117 male and 102 female — were aged from under five to over 100 years old, and they began having symptoms between May 22 and Monday. New Taipei City reported 123 cases, followed by Taipei with 54, Miaoli County with 16, Taoyuan with 13, Keelung with eight, Changhua County with two, and one each in Hsinchu City, Taichung and Tainan. The 22 deaths were 15 men and