Honduran president begins first visit to China since severance of ties with Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Honduran President Xiomara Castro arrived in Shanghai on Friday for her first visit since China established ties with Honduras, distancing her from Taiwan’s former diplomatic ally.

Castro, whose visit extends until June 14, will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping “to jointly plan the future development” of relations, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.

Honduras established official relations with China in March, becoming the latest in a string of former diplomatic allies to cut ties with Taiwan. China considers autonomous Taiwan a separatist province, to be taken over by force if necessary, and prohibits its diplomatic partners from having formal ties with Taipei.

Beijing has intensified its battle for diplomatic recognition against Taiwan since pro-independence Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016. Since then, China has successfully lured nine of Taiwan’s former allies with a campaign involving billions of dollars. investment dollars.

Beijing’s latest victory comes as tensions with the United States have risen in recent months, particularly over China’s growing assertiveness towards Taiwan and its growing influence in Latin America.

Taiwan currently has only 13 diplomatic partners, including Belize, Paraguay and Guatemala in Latin America, Vatican City and several other countries in the Caribbean and South Pacific, and Eswatini in southern Africa.

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