Honduras president backs Taiwan on visit to island

·1-min read
Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez has reaffirmed his support for Taiwan, but there is a possibility of his successor switching diplomatic recognition to Beijing (AFP/ANDY BUCHANAN)

Outgoing Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Saturday reaffirmed his support for Taiwan during a visit to the island, ahead of elections in which his successor may switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

China considers self-ruled Taiwan to be a part of its territory to be taken one day, by force if necessary, and has ramped up pressure on Taipei in recent years.

It has also poached Taiwan's diplomatic allies, including three in Latin America -- Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. Honduras is among only 15 countries that recognise Taipei over Beijing.

"It's in difficult times that you get to know your friends better," Hernandez said. "In this moment of tensions in the region, Honduras is here, always close to Taiwan."

But Hernandez's three-day visit to Taiwan comes just weeks before his country elects a new leader.

The main opposition party has vowed to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Latin America has been a key diplomatic battleground for decades between Taiwan and China since they split in 1949 after a civil war.

Taipei has recently also accused Beijing of trying to lure away its allies in that region by offering Covid-19 vaccines.

aw/qan/jah

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