China and Honduras established diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level on Sunday, right after Honduras decided to sever "diplomatic relations" with the Taiwan authorities.
"The government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes that there is only one China in the world, the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory," read the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations Between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Honduras.
The communique was signed by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina after they held talks.
The two governments agree to develop friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence, read the communique.
The decision by Honduras reduces the number of countries that diplomatically recognize Taiwan to 13.
A brand new start for China, Honduras
The Chinese Foreign Ministry immediately welcomed the move, saying the decision "is the right choice that is in line with the prevailing trend and supported by the peoples."
"The government of Honduras chooses to stand with 181 countries in the world, recognize and undertake to adhere to the one-China principle, sever the so-called diplomatic relations with Taiwan, establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, and undertake that Honduras shall no longer develop any official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan," according to a release published by the ministry.
The release added that China stands ready to enhance friendly cooperation with Honduras in various fields to benefit the two countries and peoples by following the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
"Today marks a brand new start for China-Honduras ties," said Qin when meeting the press alongside Reina.
The Chinese foreign minister said China would like to promote friendly exchanges at all levels and practical cooperation with the Central American country and bring tangible benefits to the peoples of the two sides.
Qin also said that the Chinese side welcomes Honduran President Xiomara Castro to visit China as soon as possible.
Calling the establishment of diplomatic relations "a historic step," Reina told media he believes the move has opened up a new era that benefits the peoples of Honduras and China.
The Honduran diplomat said his country looks to deepen cooperation with China in fields such as finance, trade, infrastructure, technology and culture and to maintain close coordination with China under the multilateral framework.
The one-China principle more commonly accepted
Experts say the new development shows that the one-China principle is now more commonly accepted by the international community. The principle states that there is but one China in the world and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.
Rong Ying, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, called the move a "significant development" as 182 countries have now recognized the principle.
Julio Raudales, principal of José Cecilio del Valle University, told China Media Group(CMG) that from the international community's perspective, the one-China principle has legal effects.
China is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a member of many other UN agencies, he noted, adding many public institutions recognize that the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China.
China has, on multiple occasions, called the Taiwan question "the core of China's core interests." It has vowed to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
At the press conference, Qin also slammed Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities for their separatist activities. "Those secessionist activities run counter to the will and fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and are doomed to fail," he said.
During an interview with CMG, Rasel Tomé, vice president of the National Congress of Honduras, reiterated his government's "clear stance" on the one-China principle.
He stressed that there is only one China in the world. "The People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government of China and Taiwan is part of it, so we have established diplomatic relations with the only legitimate government of China," he said.
(Graphics by CGTN's Yin Yating)
(Cover: Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang (R) and Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina jointly meet the press in Beijing, China, March 26, 2023. /CGTN)