Honduras announced on Saturday the rupture of diplomatic relations with Taiwan, so it will not have any official contact with the island again, 11 days after informing that it will seek to establish ties with China.

Foreign Minister Enrique Reina, "with instructions from the President of the Republic [Xiomara Castro], has communicated to Taiwan the decision to break diplomatic relations between the two," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The announcement comes two days after Queen's trip to Beijing to discuss the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, pushed by Honduran President Xiomara Castro.

Under the "One China" principle, Beijing does not allow any country to maintain diplomatic relations simultaneously with Taipei.

On his Twitter account, Castro had posted on March 14 that he had instructed Reina to manage the opening of "official" relations with China.

"The Government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes the existence of only one China in the world, and that the Government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China," the Honduran Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

"Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory and as of today, the Government of Honduras has communicated to Taiwan the rupture of diplomatic relations, pledging not to have any official relationship or contact with Taiwan again," he added.

The Foreign Ministry statement was released in Tegucigalpa while Castro participates in the Dominican Republic in the Ibero-American Summit.

- Thirteen countries -

Taiwan recalled its ambassador in Tegucigalpa for consultations on Thursday, as part of the Central American country's diplomatic turn to Beijing.

"Honduras ignored more than 80 years of friendship by sending its foreign minister to China, which has seriously damaged the feelings of our government and our people," Taiwan's foreign ministry said in a statement.

After Castro's first announcement, Taipei warned Honduras "not to fall into the trap of Chinese debt," for its intention to establish relations with Beijing due to its economic "needs."

Latin America has been the crucial scene of disputes between Beijing and Taipei since they separated in 1949 after the triumph of communist forces in the Chinese civil war.

Aligned with Washington, all Central American countries remained tied to Taiwan for decades, but now only Guatemala and Belize maintain ties with the island.

Costa Rica (in 2007), Panama (2017), El Salvador (2018) and Nicaragua (2021) broke with Taiwan and linked up with Beijing, which has been looking for many years for Taipei's diplomatic allies to switch sides.

Following Honduras' decision, only 13 countries in the world recognize Taiwan, including Paraguay, Haiti and seven other small Caribbean and Pacific island nations.

In an apparent effort to consolidate this small group of allies, Taiwan on Tuesday announced a visit by President Tsai Ing-wen to Guatemala and Belize next week.

The trip will serve to "demonstrate the importance we attach to our allies and to continue deepening cooperation and development among democratic allies," Tsai's office said.

- 'Important ally' -

The Minister of the Presidency of Honduras, Rodolfo Pastor, reiterated Friday that economic interest drives Tegucigalpa to seek relations with China.

"At this moment Foreign Minister Enrique Reina and the delegation that President [Castro] has sent on this important mission to manage diplomatic relations with that country are already in China," the minister said at a press conference.

Pastor acknowledged that "Taiwan has been an important ally in our country and we are deeply grateful [...], however, we also have at this time to recognize a global reality, a world stage that marks the rise of China as an economic, commercial and political power."

During the campaign that took her to the presidency, Castro had announced that he would seek to establish relations with China but after taking office, on January 27, 2022, the government caused surprise by stating that relations with Taiwan continued.

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