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China warns Guatemala against helping Taiwan: ‘Wrong decision will fail in the end’

China says Taiwan’s expansion of its international space is just a ‘gimmick’

Shweta Sharma
Wednesday 19 April 2023 12:36 BST
China conducts military drills close to Taiwan after US House speaker meeting

China has warned Guatemala against helping Taiwan and said the one-China principle was “the overriding trend in the world” ahead of the Latin American nation’s president announcing a two-day visit to Taipei.

Taiwan is a self-governing country that China claims as its own territory. The country often frowns upon attempts by Taiwan to shore up international support for its cause.

Guatemala is only one of the 13 remaining diplomatic allies the self-governing island has. The list mostly includes small nations in the Caribbean, the Pacific and Latin America.

On Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin also dismissed Taiwanese attempts to expand its international space, dubbing it as just a “gimmick”.

“The fact that China has established diplomatic relations with 182 countries shows that the one-China principle is the overriding trend in the world,” he said at a regular press briefing.

He said Guatemala’s attempts to not follow the universal recognition of the one-China principle and sticking to their “wrong decision will fail in the end”.

Beijing has repeatedly called on Guatemala to make the “right choice” by forging diplomatic relations with it and break away from Taipei for economic prosperity.

In recent years, China has managed to lure away at least seven diplomatic allies of the island nation, with the latest being Honduras, which suddenly cut off its relations with Taiwan.

“We urge Guatemala to not help Taiwan authorities in their attempts to seek independence and go against the trends in the world and aspirations of the people in that country,” Mr Wenbin said.

Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei had on Tuesday announced his two-day visit to Taiwan scheduled to begin on Saturday.

This will be his second meeting with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen within a month after Mr Giammattei welcomed her to Guatemala during her 10-day tour of Central America.

The tour included a stopover in the US, where Ms Tsai met House of Representatives speaker Kevin McCarthy, something that angered China into holding three-day drills around the Taiwan Strait.

During their meeting this month, Mr Giammattei reaffirmed the country’s “recognition of the sovereignty” of Taiwan and called the island “the one and only true China”.

The two leaders will sign trade deals to boost exports of Guatemalan coffee, sugar and other products and a $1.5m agreement for developmental work at the airport in Guatemala City.

Mr Wenbin said Taiwan belongs to China and added that opposition to the one-China principle has changed the status quo.

He also condemned the joint communique of the Group of Seven nations that criticised Beijing’s “threats, coercion, intimidation and the use of force” in the Taiwan Strait.

He said the G7 communique grossly interfered in the country’s internal affairs and maliciously smeared and discredited it.

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