Taiwan says China’s involvement in Honduras is obvious

Taiwan says China’s involvement in Honduras is obvious

TAIWAN'S FOREIGN MINISTER. File photo shows Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu speaking after receiving the Silver Commemorative Medal of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, in Prague, Czech Republic, October 27, 2021.

David W Cerny/REUTERS

Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu says the situation with Honduras is 'not very good' and that 'the other side demanded a high price'

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan sees China’s involvement in Honduras’ decision to seek to end relations with the island as very obvious and the situation does not look good with Honduras demanding a “high price,” the island’s foreign minister said on Thursday, March 23.

Honduras denied on Wednesday, March 22, it had demanded $2.5 billion in aid from Taiwan before its announcement to seek to open relations with China, instead saying the country had repeatedly requested Taiwan to buy Honduran public debt.

Speaking to reporters at parliament, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said the situation with Honduras was “not very good.”

“The other side demanded a high price,” he added, when asked about the $2.5 billion demand, though he did not directly confirm it saying only that “the facts will out.”

China, which views Taiwan as its own territory with no right to state-to-state ties, has involved itself in the issue, Wu said, without giving details.

“The marks of Chinese involvement are very obvious,” he said.

But Taiwan will not engage in dollar diplomacy with China, Wu added.

“We’ve entered a very difficult phase,” he said. “But we’ll work hard until the last minute.”

China’s foreign ministry has not responded to a request for comment about Taiwan’s accusations on its involvement, which was reported late Wednesday by Taiwan’s official Central News Agency.

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The Honduras crisis is happening ahead of a visit starting next week by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to Guatemala and Belize, which remain allies.

Tsai is stopping in New York on the way there and Los Angeles on the way back, where she is expected to meet US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Wu, asked to confirm that meeting, said it was still in the process of being arranged.

Honduras Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina said last week Honduras’ decision was partly because the Central American country was “up to its neck” in financial challenges and debt – including $600 million it owes Taiwan.

He said on Wednesday his country had repeatedly requested Taiwan buy Honduran public debt and that the $2.5 billion figure was “not a donation,” but rather “a negotiated refinancing mechanism.”

Wu, answering a lawmaker question, said Honduras did not just owe Taiwan money.

“We have said to them previously the debt they owe us can be readjusted.”

Honduras has yet to formally end ties with Taiwan, but diplomatic sources in Taipei say they expect this is only a matter of time.

That would leave Taiwan with diplomatic relations with only 13 countries. – Rappler.com

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