Honduras to seek official ties with China, deepening Taiwan,s isolation

Honduras is set to become the latest country to make official diplomatic ties with China, a move that could deepen Taiwan's diplomatic isolation.

The news was confirmed by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Thursday. The president said he hoped to establish a “comprehensive cooperation agreement” between the two countries, which would include a “diplomatic mission” in Honduras.

The announcement follows an agreement signed between China and Panama in June, which saw Panama become the first Central American country to formally recognize the Chinese government.

It is part of a broader push by China to expand its diplomatic ties in the region, with Chinese President Xi Jinping recently visiting Mexico and Costa Rica.

The move is likely to be seen as a blow to Taiwan, which has long had unofficial diplomatic ties with Central American countries. In recent years, however, several countries have switched their allegiance to Beijing.

Taiwan has only two formal diplomatic allies left in the region — Belize and El Salvador.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has urged Central American countries to “stand firm” against Chinese pressure, warning that Beijing’s “dollar diplomacy” could lead to a “debt trap”.

China, however, has denied the claims, saying that it is willing to engage in “win-win” cooperation with the region.

The announcement comes as a new wave of Chinese investments in Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to double over the next few years.

With Honduras now set to make official diplomatic ties with China, Taiwan's diplomatic isolation looks set to deepen. As Beijing continues to expand its diplomatic presence in the region, it remains to be seen how Taiwan will respond.