BEIJING (AP) — Honduras has severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the Latin American country announcing Saturday that it recognizes “only one China in the world.”
The announcement by the Honduran Foreign Ministry, posted on Twitter, as reported by China’s CCTV, comes amid rising tensions between Beijing and the United States, including China’s growing assertiveness toward autonomous Taiwan. The move leaves Taiwan recognized by only 13 sovereign states.
“The government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes that there is only one China in the world and that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legal government that represents the whole of China,” the ministry said in a statement.
She added, “Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and as of today, the government of Honduras has informed Taiwan to sever diplomatic relations, and pledged not to have any official relationship or contact with Taiwan.”
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on Sunday that the governments of Honduras and China are considering establishing relations and that Taiwan has ended relations with Honduras to “protect its sovereignty and dignity.”
Wu said Honduras President Chiomara Castro and her team have always had “fantasies” about China and raised the issue of switching relations ahead of Honduras’ presidential elections in 2021.
“With Taiwan’s efforts in this matter, relations between Taiwan and Honduras were once stable at the beginning of Castro’s term, but China has never stopped tempting Honduras,” Wu said at a press conference.
Honduras is the ninth diplomatic ally Taipei has lost to Beijing since pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen first took office in May 2016.
China and Taiwan have been locked in a battle for diplomatic recognition since the two sides split amid civil war in 1949, with Beijing spending billions to win recognition for its “one China” policy.
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary, and refuses most contacts with countries that maintain official relations with the island democracy. He threatens to retaliate against the states just for the increase in contacts.
Taiwan still has relations with Belize, Paraguay, and Guatemala in Latin America, and the Vatican City. Most of its remaining partners are island nations in the Caribbean and South Pacific, along with Eswatini in South Africa.
Despite China’s campaign of isolation, Taiwan maintains strong informal relations with more than 100 other countries, the most important of which is the United States. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but has confirmed that Taipei is an important partner in the Indo-Pacific region.
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