TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan sees China’s
involvement in Honduras’ decision to seek to end relations with the island as
very obvious and the situation does not look good with Honduras demanding a
“high price,” the island’s foreign minister said on Thursday, March 23.
Honduras denied on
Wednesday, March 22, it had demanded $2.5 billion in aid from Taiwan before its
announcement to seek to open relations with China, instead saying the country
had repeatedly requested Taiwan to buy Honduran public debt.
Speaking to reporters at
parliament, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said the situation with Honduras
was “not very good.”
“The other side demanded a
high price,” he added, when asked about the $2.5 billion demand, though he did
not directly confirm it saying only that “the facts will out.”
China, which views Taiwan as its own
territory with no right to state-to-state ties, has involved itself in the
issue, Wu said, without giving details.
“The marks of Chinese
involvement are very obvious,” he said.
But Taiwan will not engage
in dollar diplomacy with China, Wu added.
“We’ve entered a very
difficult phase,” he said. “But we’ll work hard until the last minute.”
China’s foreign ministry
has not responded to a request for comment about Taiwan’s accusations on its
involvement, which was reported late Wednesday by Taiwan’s official Central
The Honduras crisis is happening ahead of
a visit starting next week by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to Guatemala and
Belize, which remain allies.
Tsai is stopping in New
York on the way there and Los Angeles on the way back, where she is
expected to meet US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Wu, asked to confirm that
meeting, said it was still in the process of being arranged.
Honduras Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique
Reina said last week Honduras’ decision was partly because the Central American
country was “up to its neck” in financial challenges and debt – including $600
million it owes Taiwan.
He said on Wednesday his
country had repeatedly requested Taiwan buy Honduran public debt and that the
$2.5 billion figure was “not a donation,” but rather “a negotiated refinancing
Wu, answering a lawmaker
question, said Honduras did not just owe Taiwan money.
“We have said to them
previously the debt they owe us can be readjusted.”
Honduras has yet to
formally end ties with Taiwan, but diplomatic sources in Taipei say they expect
this is only a matter of time.
That would leave Taiwan
with diplomatic relations with only 13 countries. –