Taiwan recalled on Thursday its ambassador to Honduras over a visit by Tegucigalpa’s foreign minister to China, Taipei’s government said in a statement.
“Honduras ignored more than 80 years of friendship between (Taiwan and Honduras) when they sent their foreign minister to China, which has seriously damaged the feelings of our government and people,” said a foreign ministry statement.
“We have decided to immediately recall our ambassador in Honduras to express our strong dissatisfaction.”
The announcement came as Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina was heading to China to hold talks on the establishment of diplomatic relations with Beijing, government officials said.
China considers self-ruled democratic Taiwan as a part of its territory, to be retaken one day – by force, if necessary.
Last week, Honduran President Xiomara Castro ordered Reina to establish diplomatic relations with China, a move that would sever its ties with Taiwan.
Under Beijing’s “One China” principle, no country may maintain official diplomatic relations with both China and Taiwan. Taipei
maintains a similar policy, having cut ties in the past with countries that switched recognition to Beijing.
If Honduras does formally switch recognition, it would leave Taiwan with just 13 countries with which it has formal diplomatic ties, having lost several Latin American allies in recent years.
Reina was being accompanied to China by lawmaker Xiomara Zelaya, the daughter of President Castro, three government and diplomatic officials told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The Honduran delegation will meet China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Minister of the Presidency Rodolfo Pastor told local daily El Heraldo.
China’s foreign ministry has not confirmed the visit, but on Thursday spokesman Wang Wenbin said China was “ready” to establish ties with Honduras.