Taiwan yesterday reminded its diplomatic ally Honduras of Beijing’s record of broken promises, after the Latin American nation’s main opposition party pledged to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing.
The left-wing Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), led by ousted former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, on Sunday said that if it wins November’s presidential election it would seek to establish diplomatic relations with China and “readjust” the country’s debt.
The party is for a second time fielding Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro, who set out her plans at a news conference in Tegucigalpa.
“I will order an international audit on the internal and external debt, and the readjustment of it,” said Castro, 61, without elaborating on what steps that would entail.
Honduras currently has diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but if victorious, Castro said she would “immediately open diplomatic and commercial relations with mainland China.”
Honduras is among only 15 UN member countries that maintain formal relations with Taiwan.
“Honduras must understand that the Chinese government’s promises have always been all flash and no substance,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said, adding that Beijing would try any “ploys to sabotage Taiwan’s diplomatic relations with our allies.”
The government was aware of the agenda outlined by LIBRE candidate Castro and would pay close attention to any developments, she added.
Taiwan and Honduras have enjoyed diplomatic relations for 80 years, during which they have cooperated on many successful projects universally supported by the Honduran government and its people, Ou said.
Building on this deep friendship, Taiwan would continue to improve cooperation and consolidate ties between the two nations, she added.
At the end of last year, Honduras had public debt of more than US$13 billion, equivalent to 55 percent of GDP, Honduran Ministry of Finance data showed.
Of that, US$8.45 billion was foreign debt.
No reliable polling has yet been published for the election, in which several candidates are to face Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura, who is backed by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
Hernandez’s rule has been dogged by allegations of vote-rigging in 2017 and accusations raised in US courts, which he denies, of his links to drug traffickers.
However, he remains an influential figure and his National Party is still the strongest force in Honduran politics.
Additional reporting by AFP
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