Honduran Castro visits China after cutting ties with Taiwan

Honduran President Xiomara Castro will travel to China “soon,” the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Twitter on Wednesday, without giving a date for the trip.

The announcement came days after China established diplomatic relations with Honduras as the Central American country ended its decades-long ties with Taiwan.

Honduras’ foreign minister traveled to China last week, days after Castro tweeted that her government would seek to open relations with Beijing, which formalized relations with Honduras on Sunday.

The diplomatic shift has refocused attention on China’s growing footprint in Latin America.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said at a regular briefing Thursday that China welcomes the visit “at an early date” to establish bilateral relations.

“We are willing to strengthen high-level exchanges with Honduras, continuously increase political trust and mutual understanding, and jointly enhance cooperation and communication in all fields,” Mao said.

Taiwan, which has diplomatic relations with only 13 countries, has accused Honduras of demanding exorbitant sums of money before severing relations.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia) Additional reporting by Eduardo Baptista in Beijing. Writing by Brendan O’Boyle and Liz Lee; Editing by Anthony Esposito, Sandra Mahler, and Bernadette Baum

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