Posted: Monday, December 19, 2022. 12:45 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Reuters news agency reports that Guatemala’s ambassador to the Republic of China (Taiwan) has announced plans for a summit next March in his native country for those countries still friendly to Taiwan, including Belize.
In Central America, Taiwan only maintains formal diplomatic ties with Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala after Nicaragua cut them last December; overall, just fourteen countries worldwide do so due to significant pressure from Mainland China.
New ambassador Oscar Adolfo Padilla Lam made the announcement as he presented his diplomatic credentials according to the Taiwanese president’s office, contingent on President Tsai Ing-wen’s itinerary. She would co-chair the meeting if she agrees with Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei.
President Tsai’s statement did not indicate whether she would take up the invitation. However, she thanked Guatemala for its support, including sending Foreign Minister Mario Bucaro to Taipei in August just after China carried out war games near the island.
China has increased military and political pressure on Taiwan to accept its sovereignty claims, drawing anger from the democratically ruled island, which has repeatedly said it would not be bullied and has the right to international participation.
Guatemala’s neighbour Honduras has been a source of concern for Taiwan. Honduran President Xiomara Castro, who took office in January, had said on the campaign trail that she was open to starting formal relations with Beijing, though backed away from that after taking office.
China’s poaching of Taiwan’s friends has concerned the United States too, which is wary of growing Chinese influence in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, where most Taiwanese allies are located. China says Taiwan is merely one of its provinces, with no right to state-to-state relations.
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