Honduras to Cut Diplomatic Ties with Taiwan

Written by Ciara Perez

On March 14, 2023, Honduran President, Xiomara Castro, announced that the Honduras Foreign Ministry had begun switching diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. Though changing diplomatic recognition to China was one of Castro’s campaign promises, in line with the left-wing Liberty and Refoundation Party she represented, it was unclear if Castro would follow through on the switch. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen was invited to Castro’s inauguration in January 2022, to which Taiwan sent Vice President William Lai as representation.

Honduras is the fifth Central American ally to shift away from Taiwan since 2017 – El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic have all rejected Taiwan. Taiwan will be left with only 13 diplomatic allies if this change is officialized. By not engaging China in diplomatic ties, Honduras was missing out on more economic opportunities like the$300 million hydroelectric dam built in the middle of the country. Taiwan has “cautioned Hondurans against falling into China’s “trap” and the U.S. has continued reiterating that the  the “PRC over-promises and under delivers..””

Some see Castro’s decision as proof that the U.S. influence over Latin America is growing weaker, primarily because the Biden Administration worked so hard to persuade countries in the region to stand by Taiwan. “The United States has become increasingly concerned about about China’s poaching of Taiwan’s allies, with the TAIPEI Act passed in 2019 to encourage official allies of Taiwan to maintain ties, as well as supporting unofficial exchanges.”

Despite Honduras’ decision, Paraguay and Guatemala recently reaffirmed their steadfast support for Taiwan. Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-Wen, is set to visit Central American allies in the next few weeks, with a stop in the U.S. to meet Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, which will “likely increase friction between Washington and Beijing.”

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