Xiomara Castro, leader of the Central American country, says she has instructed her foreign minister to open diplomatic ties with Beijing. Meanwhile, Taiwan urges Honduras not to fall into "China's trap."
Honduras will establish diplomatic relations with China, President Xiomara Castro has said, without specifying if the Central American country would also sever longstanding ties with Taiwan.
Castro wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that she had instructed Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina "to undertake the opening of official relations with the People's Republic of China."
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry urged Honduras to carefully consider its decisionto build ties with China and not "fall into China's trap".
China's only purpose in building ties with Honduras is to squeeze Taiwan's international space and China has no intention of fostering the well being of the Honduran people, the ministry said in a statement.
Honduras' decision comes weeks after her government announced it was negotiating with China to build a hydroelectric dam, called Patuca II.
When announcing the plan in February, Reina said the dam, financed by China, would help Honduras boost its energy supplies.
At the time, Reina also denied speculation that Tegucigalpa was going to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing, which views the island as a breakaway province to be merged one day, by force if necessary.
China has already financed the construction of another dam, called Patuca III, thanks to a $300 million loan from Beijing. Patuca III was inaugurated in 2021 by then-president Juan Orlando Hernandez.
READ MORE: Is the US losing its influence to China across Latin America?
He instruido al Canciller Eduardo Reina, para que gestione la apertura de relaciones oficiales con la República Popular China, como muestra de mi determinación para cumplir el Plan de Gobierno y expandir las fronteras con libertad en el concierto de las naciones del mundo.— Xiomara Castro de Zelaya (@XiomaraCastroZ) March 14, 2023
China's influence in Latin America
Latin America has been a source of tensions between Beijing and Taipei.
Aligned with Washington, all Central American countries had maintained ties with Taiwan for decades.
But today only Honduras, Guatemala and Belize have diplomatic relations with Taipei.
Over the past decade or so, Costa Rica (in 2007), Panama (2017), El Salvador (2018) and Nicaragua (2021) severed ties with Taipei and established relations with Beijing, which had for years lobbied Taipei's diplomatic allies.
Currently, only 14 countries in the world recognise Taiwan, including Paraguay, Haiti and seven other small island nations in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
Castro, Honduras's first woman president, had promised during her campaign that she would "immediately open diplomatic and trade relations with mainland China."