Honduran president due in Taiwan in surprise state visit

The outgoing Honduran president is due to start a three-day surprise visit to Taiwan amid worries by the self-ruled island that the next president of the Central American nation may break off relations and switch to diplomatic ties with Beijing

The outgoing Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was due to start a three-day surprise visit to Taiwan on Friday as the self-ruled island, which is also claimed by China worries that the next president of the Central American nation may break off relations and switch to diplomatic ties with Beijing.

Hernández and his wife will meet President Tsai Ing-wen as part of a celebration of 80 years of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Honduras. He will also visit the Central American Bank for Economic Integration office in Taipei a Honduran development bank.

Hernández's trip comes just weeks ahead of the presidential election in Honduras. He is due to leave office in January and has become increasingly isolated him as he is facing allegations of ties to drug traffickers from U.S. federal prosecutors in New York. His brother had been arrested in Miami in 2018 by U.S. authorities on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Politically, there's little to gain in his trip. Hernández will not be able to run for office again, said Antonio C. Hsiang, a professor at La Academia Nacional de Estudios Y Estrategicos, who studies Latin America studies. Instead, Hernández is likely in Taiwan to seek support, financial or otherwise, he said.

Taiwan, meanwhile, is concerned about the election as one of the leading candidates has openly said she is in favor of establishing ties with China, which means Honduras will cease recognizing Taiwan as a country.

Xiomara Castro, the presidential candidate, said in a June 28 post on her Facebook page: “I believe in multipolarity and because of that I propose opening international relations with continental China, which would help the country incorporate into the market with the market of the world’s greatest growth."

China has been on a campaign to poach Taiwan's allies, of which only 15 remain. China has been using diplomatic and economic methods to persuade countries to switch their diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.

China says Taiwan is not a country and is merely another province, to be reunified by force if necessary. Taiwan says it has essentially been functioning independently as a country since the two sides split after a civil war in 1949.

___

Associated Press writer Marlon González in Tegucigalpa, Honduras contributed to this report.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in