TEGUCIAGALPA (Reuters) – Taiwan must vacate its embassy in Honduras within 30 days, a senior Honduras official said on Monday, after President Xiomara Castro cut ties with Taiwan in favor of China in a bid for more investment and jobs from Asia. giant.
Deputy Secretary of State Antonio Garcia made the order on local television Monday, after the government announced over the weekend that it had opened formal diplomatic relations with Beijing while at the same time ending its decades-old relationship with Taiwan.
Castro’s main conservative opposition later announced that it would reverse opening to China if it regained power.
China has long argued that democratically-ruled Taiwan is part of its territory and has no claim to interstate relations, a position Taipei strongly rejects. Communist-run China demands that countries with which it has relations adopt its position.
The Taipei Embassy in Tegucigalpa’s leafy Palmira neighborhood was for years one of the most prominent overseas locations in the Central American capital, as well as the second largest in the country after the US Embassy.
In his remarks, Garcia said that 30 days is “more than enough time to pack up and leave,” adding that officials aim for an “orderly and amicable” exit.
The Deputy Minister also stressed the need to send a diplomatic mission to the second largest economy in the world.
“We have to go there to explore the big projects that China can offer us,” he said, noting that China could invest about $10 billion in Honduras as a boon for local workers.
The State Department also announced that Honduran students who received scholarships in Taiwan will be able to transfer their studies to China.
Late Saturday, the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognized the People’s Republic of China, China’s official name, as the only legitimate government representing all of China, and that Taiwan is an “inalienable part of Chinese territory.”
The move leaves Taiwan with only 13 official allies, most of them poor, developing nations in Central America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.
In its own statement later on Monday, the conservative National Party pledged to restore relations with Taiwan if it can restore Honduras’ presidency in 2026.
“We will do the impossible to restore relations with our brothers and sisters in the Republic of Taiwan,” she said, vowing to enshrine loyalty to Taiwan in the country’s constitution.
(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia) Additional reporting by Sarah Moreland. Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer, Josie Kao, and Sandra Mahler
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