The US is trying to discourage Honduras from following through on its plan to switch diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing, hoping that the lack of a formal agreement might leave the door open for a change of heart, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The ongoing US diplomatic pressure comes after Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Tuesday wrote on Twitter that her country would establish formal ties with China, following up on a pledge she made in her presidential campaign in 2021.
Last year, her government appeared to walk back the policy.
Officials and former officials from the US and several Central American countries said Castro’s provisional announcement contrasted with how countries in the region have tended to make informal shifts in alliance from China to Taiwan.
“We truly don’t know whether it will be days or weeks or months,” a US government official said. “Is it a negotiating tactic? We don’t know for sure, but we will continue to make our case.”
However, since Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was elected president in 2016, Panama, El Salvador and most recently, Nicaragua, have officially changed sides. All announced the switch as a fait accompli.
“I got an hour heads up, even after I had spoken to the president about it,” said John Feeley, who was US ambassador to Panama when it made the switch in 2017.
In another unusual turn, Honduran Ambassador to Taiwan Harold Burgos met with Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials a day after Castro’s announcement, something which Nicaragua’s ambassador had declined to do during her country’s switch in 2021, two diplomatic sources in Taipei said.
Reuters could not ascertain the outcome of the meeting, although the foreign ministry said it told Burgos that his country should “carefully consider the matter so as not to fall into China’s snare and make a flawed decision.”
China does not allow countries to hold diplomatic ties with itself and Taiwan.
US and Taiwanese officials say that although the announcement was not surprising given Castro’s campaign stance, the Twitter post and its timing caught them off-guard.
Former and current US officials are quick to argue that many countries that have made the shift have not reaped the economic benefits they were hoping for.
“Countries should know that it is not money for nothing and chicks for free,” Feeley said, referring to a 1980s Dire Straits song, reiterating a point the US government has continued to make that Beijing “over-promises and under-delivers.”
Beijing disputes this.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said that former allies of Taiwan, auch as Panama, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, have seen “rapid development” in bilateral relations, bringing them “tangible benefits.”
If Honduras’ switch to Beijing were to be formalized, Taiwan would have 13 UN-recognized diplomatic allies, including Belize and Guatemala, as well as Somaliland.
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials are investigating why a Starlux Airlines flight to Penang, Malaysia, returned to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport nearly two hours after takeoff yesterday morning. The airline said in a statement that Flight JX721 to Penang took off from Taoyuan airport at 9:20am. “After the dashboard showed a signal of an abnormality in the hydraulic system, the captain followed standard operating procedures and returned the flight to Taoyuan airport for safety precautions,” the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely at the airport at 11:04am. The airline arranged for the passengers to have lunch after the flight landed and
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number