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Latest leader to cut Taiwan ties heads to China

The Honduran president hopes to sign “auspicious agreements” with Beijing during her planned trip

President Xiomara Castro is set to travel to China, just days after Honduras severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established relations with Beijing. The announcement comes as Taipei’s own leader visits the United States, where she is expected to meet with a top lawmaker. 

Honduras’ Foreign Ministry publicized the upcoming trip on Wednesday, issuing a brief statement noting that the president would travel to China sometime “soon.”

“President Xiomara Castro will soon travel to the People’s Republic of China for an official visit, with a view to signing auspicious agreements between both countries,” the ministry said.

Over the weekend, the Latin American nation opted to sever its decades-long relations with Taiwan, with the government saying it “recognizes the existence of just one China in the world,” and that the leadership in Beijing “is the only legitimate government that represents all of China.” It added that Taiwan is an “inalienable part of Chinese territory,” echoing the ‘One-China’ principle long favored by Beijing.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures after the 29th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM) during the APEC Summit in Bangkok, Thailand Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.
China is winning the diplomatic struggle against the US

China’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the decision, calling it the “right choice,” while declaring that “engaging in separatists activities for Taiwan independence is against the will and interests of the Chinese nation and against the trend of history, and is doomed to a dead end.”

The announcement of Castro’s upcoming visit came amid a trip to the US by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who stopped in New York on Wednesday before she continues on to Guatemala and Belize. She will also visit California on her way back home, and is expected to meet with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, despite stern warnings from Beijing.

Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said any meeting with the high-ranking congressman would further escalate tensions between the island and Beijing.

“It will be another provocation that seriously violates the One-China principle, harms China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and destroys peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. We firmly oppose this and will definitely take measures to resolutely fight back,” she added.

READ MORE: Taiwanese leader defies China over US visit

Elected in 2021 as the first female president of Honduras, Castro is the wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from power in a military coup in 2009. She is affiliated with the left-leaning Liberty and Refoundation party, and has promoted policies in line with what she has described as “democratic socialism.”

March 30, 2023 at 10:52AM

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