US pressuring Latin American nation on China ties – Report

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According to Reuters, the US is using its influence to persuade Honduras to reconsider its recently announced plan to establish diplomatic relations with China. Instead, the Central American country is one of fourteen countries worldwide with ties to Taiwan.

In violation of its ‘One China’ policy, Beijing refuses to maintain official contact with states that recognise Taiwan. The Chinese government maintains that the self-governing island is an inalienable part of its territory that separatists have seized.

The media outlet claimed on Saturday, citing anonymous “sources close to the matter,” that Washington is hopeful that in the absence of a formal agreement, Honduran President Xiomara Castro will retract the statement she made on Tuesday.

According to Reuters, an unnamed US government official stated that there is currently no clarity on “whether it will be days, weeks, or months,” or if this is simply a “negotiating tactic.” Whatever the case, Washington “will continue to make [its] case,” according to the source.

One of the arguments the US is reportedly using to try to persuade Honduras not to switch its diplomatic allegiance to China is that other countries in the region that have done so have allegedly not received the economic benefits they had hoped for.

Panama, El Salvador, and Nicaragua have had diplomatic relations with China since 2016.

On Tuesday, Castro announced on Twitter that she had directed Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina to “manage the opening of official relations with the People’s Republic of China” in order to join the rest of the world in “expanding the borders with freedom.”

During her election campaign in 2021, Honduran President Juan Manuel Zelaya promised to do so.

According to Reuters, Harold Burgos, Honduran ambassador to Taiwan, met with Taiwanese diplomats on Wednesday. Taiwan later stated publicly that it had advised Honduras to “carefully consider the matter in order to avoid falling into China’s trap and making a flawed decision.”

Currently, only Guatemala, Paraguay, Belize, Haiti, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Eswatini, and the Holy See recognise Taiwan as a sovereign country.