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Honduras to seek official ties with China, deepening Taiwan’s isolation

President Xiomara Castro’s announcement implies her government will sever relations with the self-ruling island, which is claimed by Beijing and has few remaining allies.
(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 24, 2022, Honduras' President Xiomara Castro gestures during the launching of the "Integral Plan for the Treatment of Extortion and Related Crimes", which aims to tackle the local 'maras' (gangs), at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa. - Honduras will establish diplomatic relations with China, President Xiomara Castro said on March 14, 2023. Without specifying if this means Honduras will sever ties with Taiwan, Castro wrote on Twitter that she has instructed Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina "to undertake the opening of official relations with the People's Republic of China." (Photo by Orlando SIERRA / AFP) (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images)
Honduran President Xiomara Castro said she had instructed her foreign minister to start negotiations with China about establishing diplomatic relations.Orlando Sierra / AFP - Getty Images file
/ Source: Associated Press

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduras President Xiomara Castro announced Tuesday that her government will seek to establish diplomatic relations with China, which would imply severing relations with Taiwan.

Castro said on her Twitter account that she instructed Honduran Foreign Affairs Minister Eduardo Reina to start negotiations with China and that her intention is “to expand the borders with freedom.”

Honduras is one of the few remaining allies of Taiwan, and Castro’s announcement represents a change on its diplomatic views.

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency quoted an unidentified Foreign Ministry official as saying the government was “in the process of ascertaining the situation” and had no further details.

China claims self-ruled, democratic Taiwan is part of its territory and sees diplomatic recognition of the island as interference in its affairs. Beijing has isolated Taiwan diplomatically with a long campaign against such recognition under the “one-China” policy.

In January 2022, the foreign affairs minister told The Associated Press that Honduras would continue strengthening ties with Taiwan and establishing a diplomatic relationship with China was not a priority for Castro.

It’s not clear what made the government change its mind.