Honduras, Micronesia: 'diplomatic war' between Beijing and Taiwan
Honduras is set to switch from Taiwan to China. Since 2016, Xi Jinping has wrested eight diplomatic allies from Taiwan. Now the spotlight is on Paraguay. Taiwan is not standing idly by and could gain diplomatic recognition from Micronesia, which wants to break ties with China.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – China and Taiwan are engaged in a diplomatic tug-of-war, trying to wrest formal recognition from other states.
Honduran President Xiomara Castro yesterday announced that she had instructed her foreign minister to establish official diplomatic relations with China.
Although the Honduran leader did not clearly state whether the move will involve breaking diplomatic ties with Taiwan, such an outcome is inevitable.
China considers Taiwan a rebel province, and has never ruled out using force to take it.
The island has been de facto independent from the mainland since 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists fled the mainland after losing the civil war against the communists. Since then, Taiwan has claimed to represent the Republic of China founded in 1912.
Communist China refuses to establish formal diplomatic ties with any country unless it rejects Taiwan’s status as an independent state.
Before her victory in November 2021, Castro had expressed willingness to drop Taiwan for China, something she had apparently shelved afterwards.
if Honduras goes, Taiwan will have full diplomatic relations with only 13 states, including the Vatican.
For mainland China, Taiwan’s current president, Tsai Ing-wen, is a dangerous secessionist. Since she came to power in 2016, Beijing has been able to take eight diplomatic partners away from the island, namely Burkina Faso, Panama, São Tomé and Príncipe, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Nicaragua (the latest, in December 2021). If Honduras follows, it would be the ninth.
Meanwhile rumours have been circulating for some time about Chinese pressure on the Holy See. And Paraguay could switch to China if opposition candidate Efrain Alegre wins the presidential elections in April.
The Chinese strategy is to further limit Taiwan's international status, but the latter is ready to respond.
Recently the president of the Federated States of Micronesia, David Panuelo, announced the willingness of his government to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan and break them with China.
Panuelo stressed that he was “transparent”, noting that he would switch diplomatic allegiance in exchange for an injection of US$ 50 million to meet his country’s financial needs.
On 9 March, Panuelo sent a letter to his South Pacific colleagues accusing Beijing of “political warfare” against his administration, with bribery attempts and espionage operations.
Micronesia has a free association agreement with the United States and is among the South Pacific states that in May rejected China's offer of a major regional trade and security pact.