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June 27, 2017

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MOFA reiterates strong ties with Honduras

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday stressed that the nation's diplomatic ties with Honduras remain strong despite the fact that the Central American ally has yet to send a new ambassador to Taiwan almost a year after the position became vacant.

Florencia Hsie (謝妙宏), deputy director-general of MOFA's Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, stated at a news briefing that the new Honduran government has yet sent an new ambassador to the R.O.C. mainly because its administration is currently undergoing a wave of structural streamlining.

"Honduras' new president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was sworn in on Jan. 27 this year, has been launching government structural reforms and conducting reviews of its appointment of overseas diplomats," Hsie said.

As part of the reforms, Alejandro Young, former Charge d'Affaires of the Embassy of Honduras in Taiwan, was called back to the Central American country on March 31.

Misael Vallecille, a former minister at the embassy, has replaced Young as Honduras' representative to Taiwan since April 1, Hsie added.

MOFA and Taiwan's embassy in the Central American country have been calling on the Honduran government to appoint a new ambassador to the R.O.C. as soon as possible as a concrete move to solidify bilateral ties.

But so far the ally has not given Taiwan a timetable on when that will happen, she noted.

Hsie made the remarks when asked to comment on when Honduras would assign a new ambassador to Taiwan and if the absence of an ambassador could be seen as a warning sign for bilateral relations.

Departure of Envoy

Honduras recalled its Ambassador to Taiwan, Mario Alberto Fortin Midence, last May amid reported plans to forge closer ties with China and concerns that it will eventually shift diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Since then, Honduras has been represented in Taiwan by a charge d'affaires.

Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) previously said that ambassador Mario Alberto Fortin Midence was called back to take up a post as a special advisor to the foreign minister and the departure of the envoy has nothing to do with the ally's reported plan to establish ties with Beijing.

Commenting on the issue, Hsie yesterday stressed that it is not uncommon for a country to call back its envoy and ask a charge d'affaires to temporarily take over the management of an embassy.

Reaffirming that bilateral ties have remained stable, the MOFA official stressed that two-way relations have been going on smoothly under the new administration.

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