Honduran Presidential Visit Kicks Off New Relations With China

President Xiomara Castro meets with a representative of Taiwan on her inauguration day in 2022

“Castro opened the visit… in Shanghai; starting the agenda in that important metropolis illustrates the interest in strengthening commercial ties.”

Honduran President Xiomara Castro campaigned on a diplomatic switch from her country’s recognition of Taiwan, recognized since 1949, to that of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Talk of abandoning Taiwan subsided after her election. However, she announced in March 2023 that the country would switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the PRC in an effort to gain financing for a hydroelectric dam project and to lower its external debt burden.[i] President Castro made a weeklong visit to mainland China to inaugurate these new relations, where Honduras opened its first embassy and officially acceded to the Belt and Road Initiative, according to Prensa Latina, a Cuban government outlet. Castro visited the New Development Bank—commonly known as the BRICS Bank—and requested membership for Honduras, according to Prensa Latina. Castro followed that visit with a stop at Huawei headquarters.

Castro also secured a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping, according to La Prensa, a Honduran newspaper. He praised her courage, promised to negotiate a free trade agreement with Honduras, and agreed to promote the entrance of Honduran agricultural goods into the Chinese market. The outlet reported that Honduras will present China with a list of infrastructure projects for financing, likely focusing on ports. Honduras’ diplomatic switch to the PRC leaves Taiwan with just 13 remaining countries who recognize its sovereignty, seven of which are in Latin America and the Caribbean.[ii] The Western Hemisphere will remain the epicenter of the PRC’s efforts to isolate Taiwan diplomatically, with Central America and the Caribbean likely to be its principal focus.[iii]


“Honduras abre su embajada en China (Honduras opens its embassy in China),” Prensa Latina (Cuban government outlet that covers issues of importance to its allies), 11 June 2023. https://www.prensa-latina.cu/2023/06/11/honduras-abre-su-embajada-en-china

Honduras inaugurated its embassy, after China did so last week in its capital…Castro opened the visit…in Shanghai; and starting the agenda in that important metropolis illustrates the interest in strengthening commercial ties. In fact, she requested the country’s accession to the New Development Bank, popularly called the BRICS Bank, during a meeting with the president of the entity, the Brazilian Dilma Rousseff, and later spoke with executives of the Huawei technology company.

“Gobierno de Honduras pedirá el apoyo a China para puertos (Government of Honduras Will Ask China for Support for Ports),” La Prensa (Honduran newspaper based in the business capital of San Pedro Sula), 15 June 2023. https://www.laprensa.hn/honduras/politica-gobierno-honduras-pedira-apoyo-china-para-puertos-KI13931748

Several projects have been discussed since it was necessary to pass this phase of the president’s visit to go into specific issues…Naturally, infrastructure issues are a priority…Honduras and China recently signed 22 documents in Beijing and next week it is expected that Honduran products such as coffee and bananas will begin to reach China.


[i] To read more about potential lessons for Taiwan and its presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, see: Ryan Berg and Leland Lazarus, “What Taiwan Can Learn from Honduras’s Switch to China,” Foreign Policy, 31 March 2023. https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/03/31/latin-america-taiwan-china-honduras-united-states-diplomacy-tsai/

[ii] OE Watch has covered China’s expanding influence in Latin America, with a particular emphasis on Central America, where Taiwan is losing formal diplomatic allies. For example, see: Catalina Wedman, “China’s Growing Influence on the Latin American Economy,” OE Watch, October 2018, https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/m/oe-watch-articles-singular-format/266517

[iii] For more on Taiwan’s future in the Western Hemisphere and its difficulty maintaining allies, see: Ryan Berg and Wazim Mowla, “Taiwan’s Future in Latin America and the Caribbean,” The Diplomat, 1 September 2022. https://thediplomat.com/2022/09/taiwans-future-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean/

Image Information:

Image: President Xiomara Castro meets with a representative of Taiwan on her inauguration day in 2022
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:01.27_%E3%80%8C%E5%89%AF%E7%B8%BD%E7%B5%B1%E7%8E%87%E5%9C%98%E5%87%BA%E5%B8%AD%E5%AE%8F%E9%83%BD%E6%8B%89%E6%96%AF%E5%85%B1%E5%92%8C%E5%9C%8B%E7%B8%BD%E7%B5%B1%E5%8D%A1%E8%95%AC%E6%A5%9A%E5%B0%B1%E8%81%B7%E5%85%B8%E7%A6%AE%E3%80%8D%E5%90%91%E5%8D%A1%E8%95%AC%E6%A5%9A%E7%B8%BD%E7%B5%B1%E7%95%B6%E9%81%B8%E4%BA%BA%E8%87%B4%E6%84%8F%E4%B8%A6%E5%91%88%E9%81%9E%E7%89%B9%E4%BD%BF%E5%9C%8B%E6%9B%B8_-_51845921976.jpg
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