The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that it had expressed “grave concern” to the government of Honduras after Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Tuesday wrote on Twitter that it would pursue official diplomatic relations with China.
In addition to issuing a statement, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui (俞大㵢) summoned Honduran Ambassador to Taiwan Harold Burgos to the ministry in Taipei early yesterday to voice the government’s concerns.
The meeting lasted about 20 minutes and Burgos did not make any public comments upon arriving at the ministry.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
Burgos said shortly after noon that he had not yet heard from his country’s foreign ministry.
“President Castro has given an instruction to [Honduran] Minister [of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique] Reina. We are waiting for further direction from our ministry,” he said.
Burgos was referring to a post by Castro early yesterday morning Taiwan time expressing her desire to seek official ties with China — a position she had taken during her presidential run, but appeared to back off from after taking power in January last year.
“I have instructed Chancellor Eduardo Reina to manage the opening of official relations with the People’s Republic of China as a sign of my determination to comply with the government plan and expand the borders freely in concert with the nations of the world,” she wrote in Spanish.
The foreign minister position is colloquially called “chancellor” in some Spanish-speaking countries.
Castro did not specify whether her country would end diplomatic relations with Taiwan before securing ties with China.
China requires that Taiwan’s allies sever ties with Taipei before establishing relations with it.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it was not considering ending diplomatic relations with Honduras before the Central American country announced a diplomatic switch.
However, Taipei has expressed grave concern to Tegucigalpa over the post, and would continue to engage in talks with the ally and stress that Taiwan is a genuine friend and partner that has offered assistance to Honduras for decades.
Beijing always offers “false promises” to Taipei’s allies, with the sole purpose of snatching them away to diminish Taiwan’s international presence, the statement said.
Unlike China, Taiwan has for many years pushed forward projects that improved the well-being of Hondurans, it said.
“Our government has asked our Honduran counterpart to carefully consider [the situation] and not fall into China’s trap and make a wrong decision that would jeopardize our decades-long bilateral friendship,” the statement said.
Honduras is an important ally of Taiwan, it said, adding that Taiwan’s government would continue working with like-minded countries to strengthen cooperation and deepen friendships with its allies.
If Honduras were to end official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the nation would be left with relationships with 12 UN member nations, as well as the Vatican and Somaliland.
Honduras would also become the ninth diplomatic ally, and fifth in Latin America, Taipei has lost to Beijing since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016.
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