China accused of weaponising Honduras election for ‘brutal suppression’ of ties with Taiwan

·2-min read
A screen with the electoral ballot after the draw for the order in which presidential candidates will appear on it for the November elections (AFP via Getty Images)
A screen with the electoral ballot after the draw for the order in which presidential candidates will appear on it for the November elections (AFP via Getty Images)

Taiwan has accused China of taking advantage of elections in Honduras to “create controversy” and attempting to undermine Taipei’s long-standing ties with the Latin American nation, as Taiwan scrambles to save 80 years of diplomatic ties with the country.

Honduras main left-wing opposition party, Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), led by ousted former president Manuel Zelaya, has said it will immediately open diplomatic and economic relations with China if it claims victory in the 28 November elections.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said Beijing was trying to undermine Taipei's diplomatic ties with the Central American country.

"Recently, it has even used the democratic election in our ally to create controversial topics and the false image of unstable diplomatic relations between our country and Honduras," the ministry said.

Pushing back against China’s "brutal suppression" of Taiwan’s diplomatic ties, it said that the government will "take concrete actions to demonstrate our country’s assistance to the development of Honduras’ economic and social affairs, and strive for the support of Honduras’ ruling and opposition parties for Taiwan”.

Earlier this week, Taiwan’s foreign ministry warned Honduras against "flashy and false" promises by Beijing and its “ploys to sabotage Taiwan’s diplomatic relations” with allies.

The ministry said it was closely monitoring the ongoing developments and pledged to continue to strengthen their bilateral ties of 80 years.

Honduras, the central American country, is one of just 15 countries that maintains formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which considers Taiwan as a breakaway province and has vowed to take control of the island again.

In recent months, Taipei has also accused Beijing of attempting to lure away its allies by its “vaccine diplomacy” amid coronavirus pandemic.

China’s efforts to form close ties with Taiwan’s remaining allies have caused alarm in Washington, which has been concerned about its growing influence in Central America and Caribbean - a key diplomatic battleground.

China has won over at least seven of Taiwan’s allies. The list of countries includes three Latin American nations which are: Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.

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