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Honduran president-elect's team pledges to continue Taiwan ties: Wu

Xiomara Castro said on campaign trail she would switch diplomatic ties to Beijing

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Presidential candidate Xiomara Castro (center) after general elections in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Nov. 28, 2021.

Presidential candidate Xiomara Castro (center) after general elections in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Nov. 28, 2021. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The foreign minister has reassured legislators that Taiwan-Honduras ties remain stable following the Nov. 28 election victory of Libre party candidate Xiomara Castro, who previously floated a diplomatic switch to China.

Speaking at the Legislative Yuan on Wednesday (Dec. 8), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said that Taiwan's embassy in Honduras had contacted the campaign staff of President-elect Castro and Vice-President-elect Salvador Nasralla. "They gave us their word that the diplomatic ties will not be affected," he told lawmakers, according to CNA.

Taipei, which has seen seven of its allies switch ties to Beijing since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), has for weeks been uneasy about its 80-year relations with Tegucigalpa.

During her campaign, Castro declared she would initiate commercial and diplomatic ties with China when elected, though allies later walked back this statement. Vice President-elect Nasralla told Reuters last week the Central American nation is continuing its relations with Taiwan, adding, "We don't want to fight the United States; the United States is our main trade ally."

Another possible signal that diplomatic relations are safe for the time being is Castro's response to Tsai's congratulatory tweet following the results of the Honduran election. "Thank you very much, President Tsai," she replied, using Tsai's official name.

However, some experts believe the leftist Castro administration will court Beijing to counter Washington's dominant influence in the country, enticed — like neighboring El Salvador — by Chinese investments and loans.

"Honduras wants to enter into the dynamic of saying if you do not support me internally, I have another ally who will give me the resources I need if I want to build mega-projects," The Guardian quoted Ismael Zepeda of Honduran think tank Fosdeh as saying.