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 governed Taiwan is part of its territory and has no right to state-to-state 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.
Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jeff Liu said that 30 days is an “international standard,” and that they would comment more later.
Honduras’ move came before former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou began a historic visit to China, the first by a former or sitting Taiwanese president since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 at the end of a civil war with China. Communists.
The visit was sharply criticized by Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
The Honduran Vice Minister also stressed the need to send a diplomatic mission to China.
“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.
Liu said the scholarships for Honduran students will run until the end of the current semester, after which they will be provided with one-way tickets back home.
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 statement 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 and Ben Blanchard in Taipei. Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer, Josie Kao, and Sandra Mahler
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