Former Honduran ambassador to Taiwan Rafael Sierra yesterday criticized Honduran President Xiomara Castro’s bid to establish diplomatic ties with China, saying that severing relations with Taiwan would likely result in economic repercussions for his country.
Castro’s effort to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China is based on untruthful premises, Sierra wrote on Twitter, adding that it could harm the interests of farmers and more than 300 students receiving Taiwanese scholarships.
Salvadorans who moved to China on promises of scholarship were required to restart their studies from scratch, compelling many to return home empty-handed, Sierra said, referring to students enrolled in Taiwan when El Salvador switched recognition to Beijing in 2018.
Trade with Taiwan has been favorable to his country because of Taiwanese demand for melons, shrimp, coffee and other products from Honduras, he said.
As Costa Rica has discovered after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing, China’s larger market does not necessarily result in more demand for Central American products, he said.
Taiwanese programs provide aid to many families in Honduras via agriculture technical assistance for avocado and potato seed production, and hog and floating cage fish farming, he said.
These families would face an uncertain future if the Taipei-run International Cooperation and Development Fund were to withdraw from the country, he said.
Fernando Ramos, a Honduran columnist who writes for Taiwanese media, told the Central News Agency that election challenges and fiscal woes might have influenced the Castro administration’s foreign policy with regard to Taiwan.
Castro’s announcement on Twitter of her intention to establish ties with Beijing likely signaled that a decision had already been made, Ramos said.
Honduras is facing a steep fiscal crisis that might jeopardize Castro’s election promises of infrastructure projects, which could fuel the opposition parties’ criticism of the government ahead of general elections next year, he said.
A meeting between Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina and Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Xie Feng (謝峰) in January was likely part of Tegucigalpa’s efforts to find new sources of funding for a dam project on the Patuca River, he said.
The resources Beijing could offer to infrastructure and energy projects in Honduras were a powerful incentive in contrast to Taiwan’s approach to foreign aid, which revolves around the soft-power domains of education, technology and vocational training, Ramos said.
Honduran students in Taiwan were alarmed by the potential threat to their scholarship programs, Ramos said, urging Taipei not to cut academic exchange programs.
Taipei has long conducted educational cooperation with countries that do not recognize it, and showing respect for the rights of Honduran students would demonstrate that Taiwan is not like China, he added.
Honduran lawmaker Tomas Zambrano, a high-profile critic of Castro, told a local TV channel that switching recognition would likely affect the country’s relationship with the US, its main trade partner.
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with