lørdag 25. mars 2023

China thinks it’s diplomatically isolating Taiwan. It isn’t

When the Honduran President announced last week her country planned to establish diplomatic ties with China, the ripples were felt far beyond this Central American country of population 10 million. To many, it was the latest confirmation of China’s growing clout on the world stage. The decision by President Xiomara Castro means Honduras will have to sever its relationship with Taiwan, the island democracy that for much of the past 50 years has been locked in a battle for diplomatic recognition with China, its far larger Communist-ruled neighbor.

China claims Taiwan as its territory, and has repeatedly refused to rule out taking the island by force, but the pressure it heaps on Taiwan is not limited to threats about invasion. It also exerts diplomatic pressure, by insisting that any country wanting official ties with the world’s second largest economy must at the same time refuse to recognize Taiwan. As a result, a dwindling pool of nations are willing to hold diplomatic relations with the island democracy of 23.5 million.

Before Castro’s announcement, Taiwan had just 14 diplomatic allies – down from the 56 it had in 1971, when it lost recognition from the United Nations, and down from 22 when its President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016.