The outgoing president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, trusted this Saturday to maintain the “deep relationship” with Taiwan after the next elections, in which the opposition candidate proposes to reverse her diplomatic recognition with Beijing in case of victory.
Just two weeks before the elections to choose his successor, Hernández traveled to Taiwan for three days to reaffirm his commitment to this island amid intense tensions with Beijing, which considers it part of its territory.
“We are here because we want to send a clear and forceful message: it is in difficulties that friends are best known and best known,” Hernández said at a reception with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
“In these moments of tension in the region, here is Honduras, always closely with Taiwan,” he insisted, defining Honduras as “a true friend of Taiwan.”
Honduras is among the fifteen countries in the world that still recognize Taipei instead of Beijing, which is determined to one day take back this democratically ruled island, even by force if necessary.
Most of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies are located precisely in Central America, such as Guatemala, Nicaragua or Haiti, as well as Honduras and Paraguay.
But in its offensive to isolate this territory internationally, China has managed to fish some historical allies of Taipei such as Panama, El Salvador or the Dominican Republic.
Open relations with China
And Honduras could be the next one depending on the result of the November elections, in which the official candidate Nasry Asfura seems to be fighting for victory against the leftist Xiomara Castro, wife of former president José Manuel Zelaya Rosales.
In September, Castro assured that he would “immediately open diplomatic and commercial relations with mainland China” if he wins the elections.
During his visit, the third to the country of his term, Hernández wanted voters to take into account his historic alliance.
“We want them to be successful elections in which the Honduran people express themselves and for this result to always bear in mind that deep relationship between Honduras and Taiwan,” he said.
“I will always advocate for this deep relationship, during and after I am president.”
For his part, Tsai hoped that both territories “continue to support each other in the international community” after the elections.
In September, Taiwan had alerted Xiomara Castro to China’s “showy and false” promises.
Latin America has been a diplomatic battleground for decades between Taiwan and China since their separation in 1949 following the defeat of the nationalist side in the civil war.
In exchange for their loyalty, Taipei has granted its Latin American partners significant investments, financial aid and training scholarships, as well as importing large amounts of products, especially agricultural products.
During his visit, Hernández seeks to seduce investors to promote infrastructure in the country, especially for the development of a macroport in Amapala (west) which should be the gateway to the country’s Pacific.
Arrived directly from Washington on Friday, the Honduran leader will return to his country on Sunday.