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Honduras cuts diplomatic ties with Taiwan

BEIJING (AP) — Honduras has cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the Latin American country announced Saturday, saying it recognizes “only one China in the world.”

The announcement by Honduras’s foreign ministry posted on Twitter, and also reported by China’s CCTV, comes amid rising tensions between Beijing and the United States, including over China’s increasing assertiveness toward self-ruled Taiwan. The move leaves Taiwan recognized by only 13 sovereign states.

“The government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes the existence of only one China in the world and that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China,” the ministry statement said.

It added that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and as of today, the Honduran government has informed Taiwan the severance of diplomatic relations, pledging not to have any official relationship or contact with Taiwan.”

Honduras is the ninth diplomatic ally that Taipei has lost to Beijing since pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen first took office in May 2016.

China and Taiwan have been locked in a battle for diplomatic recognition since the sides split amid civil war in 1949, with Beijing spending billions to win recognition for its “One China” policy.

China claims Taiwan is part of its territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary, and refuses most contacts with countries that maintain formal ties with the island democracy. It threatens retaliation against countries merely for increasing contacts.

Taiwan still has ties with Belize, Paraguay and Guatemala in Latin America, and Vatican City. Most of its remaining partners are island nations in the Caribbean and South Pacific, along with Eswatini in southern Africa.

Despite China’s campaign of isolation, Taiwan retains robust informal ties with more than 100 other countries, most importantly the United States. The U.S. doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Taiwan but has maintained that Taipei is an important partner in the Indo-Pacific.

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