TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Taiwan must vacate its embassy in Honduras’ capital Tegucigalpa in 30 days, a senior Honduran official said on Monday, after President Xiomara Castro severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China in a bid for more assistance from the Asian giant.
Deputy Foreign Minister Antonio Garcia issued the order on local television on Monday, following the government’s announcement over the weekend that it had opened formal diplomatic relations with Beijing while simultaneously ending its decades-long relationship with Taiwan.
China claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory with no right to state-to-state ties, a position Taipei strongly rejects. China demands that countries it has ties with must recognize its position.
Taipei’s embassy in the leafy Palmira neighborhood was for years one of the Central American capital’s most prominent foreign outposts, as well as the country’s second-biggest embassy after the U.S. embassy.
“We have to send a diplomatic mission… We have to go there to explore the big projects that China can give us,” Garcia added, emphasizing that China could invest some $10 billion dollars in Honduras while boosting its labor market.
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In a statement late on Saturday, the Honduran foreign ministry said it recognized the People’s Republic of China, China’s formal name, as the only legitimate government that represents all of China and that Taiwan is an “inseparable part of Chinese territory.”
The move left Taiwan with only 13 formal allies, mostly poor and developing countries in Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Josie Kao)
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