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September 22, 2017

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Honduras-China ties will not harm Taiwan: MOFA

TAIPEI--A Honduran official has told Taiwanese diplomats that while his country plans to expand its ties with China, the initiative will be based on the principle of not hurting diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Sunday.

James Wu, the director-general of the MOFA's Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, said Honduras' foreign minister conveyed the message to Joseph Kuo, Taiwan's ambassador to Honduras, on Saturday.

The pledge was made after the Central American ally announced it will open a trade office in China to develop closer ties with Beijing.

Kuo said Honduras and China are still conducting a feasibility study on the issue and that no documents have been signed at this stage, according to Wu.

Concerns over the future of Taiwan's diplomatic ties with Honduras were raised after Honduras' presidential office issued a statement on Dec. 19 that took issue with Taiwan's hope that Tegucigalpa would not go ahead with the plan to put a commercial office in Beijing.

"President Porfirio Lobo Sosa confirmed this Wednesday that clear intentions exist to open diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, a situation that should not affect relations with Taiwan," the statement said.

"In the 21st century, one can't keep thinking that expanding relations with one country means being the enemy of another."

Honduran Foreign Ministry officials told Kuo that they will seek a way not to damage relations with Taiwan while expanding the country's friendship with China, according to Wu.

Meanwhile, Wu rebutted a report suggesting that Lobo had refused to meet Kuo to discuss the issue.

Wu said the president was sick and has been busy lately and that an official meeting will be arranged in the near future.

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