With China-Honduras relations developing at a rarely seen quick pace, Honduran President Xiomara Castro announced Tuesday a plan for a historic visit to China on the heels of the inauguration of China's Embassy to Honduras in Tegucigalpa on Monday, within three months of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.
Analysts said that President Castro's visit to China is a significant moment since the two countries established diplomatic relations on March 26 and will inject new impetus to the fast-developing bilateral relations, which have already yielded early harvests and will bring about more benefits to the people.
Honduras' severing ties with the secessionist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities on Taiwan island and its firm support for one-China principle reflected a major trend of the international society, experts said, holding the belief that the sound China-Honduras relations could also encourage more countries to cut "diplomatic ties" with the DPP authorities and make a wise choice on the right side of history.
Castro would visit China from June 9 to 14 and she wrote on Twitter "the refounding of Honduras demands new political, scientific, technical, commercial and cultural horizons."
On Monday, Yu Bo, charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Honduras, and Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina jointly unveiled the plaque to inaugurate the Chinese Embassy to Honduras.
Yu told the Global Times on Tuesday that since he came to Honduras, he and other members of the embassy establishment team have been deeply impressed by the care, attention, and importance that the Honduran society attaches to bilateral relations at every moment.
Yu used the words "happy, confident and determined" to describe his feelings on the inauguration of the Chinese Embassy. Having established diplomatic relations for less than three months, the two sides have quickly connected and cooperated in areas including economy, trade, agriculture, technology, culture, education and media, and have already achieved a number of early harvests, Yu said.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations over two months ago, China and Honduras have been delivering on their commitments and working together to get bilateral relations off to a strong start on the basis of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development… It fully shows that to stand for the one-China principle is the right thing to do, which has the overwhelming support of the international community and represents the prevailing trend of the world, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at the routine press conference on Tuesday.
Honduras is actively promoting the inauguration of its embassy to China, and China will give strong support and assistance, Wang said.
China-Honduras relations have developed at a quick pace that is rarely seen, highlighting that both sides attach great importance to each other and their strong willingness for deeper relations, Pan Deng, executive director of the Latin American and Caribbean Region Law Center of China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Honduras' severing its ties with the DPP authorities removed the political obstacles for China-Honduras relations and the current close interactions would pave the way for more pragmatic cooperation to benefit the people of the two countries, said Pan.
The Chinese Embassy will certainly become a bridge for China-Honduras relations, a bridge for deeper cooperation and a bond connecting the two peoples, said Yu Bo.
President Castro will soon make a state visit to China, a historic one as it will be the first visit to China by a Honduran president, Yu said. He looks forward to the two heads of state jointly drawing up a blueprint for China-Honduras relations, leading the development of bilateral relations to a higher level.
Rasel Tomé, vice president of the National Congress of Honduras who attended the Monday ceremony expressed his belief in an interview with the Global Times that the governments and peoples of the two countries will establish a "brotherly, firm friendship based on mutual respect." He also looks forward to having the opportunity to visit China in the future.
Analysts reached by the Global Times also hold full confidence in the future of China-Honduras cooperation, as President Castro's visit will consolidate the political consensus, and the exchanges between the heads of state will also set the direction for future China-Honduras relations.
Sun Yanfeng, a research fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday that during Castro's upcoming visit to China, the two sides are expected to discuss details on cooperation, including expanding Honduras' agricultural exports to China, China's investment in Honduras and on projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.
It is not surprising to see China and Honduras making progress on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations when China and many other Latin American countries are also working on FTAs to further facilitate trade, said Sun.
Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina was cited by Spanish media EFE in a report in May that Honduras will soon start FTA negotiations with China. Shrimps and bananas, melons, cigars and beef are among the products that Honduras would export to China.
The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Honduras is an achievement of China's pragmatic cooperation with Central America in the past years, which also has a demonstration effect for the 13 countries that still have "diplomatic ties" with the DPP authorities, analysts said.
The cooperation between China and Latin American countries has showed great resilience and China's promotion of infrastructure construction projects in these countries have fully integrated with local developments in various fields, Sun said.
Such a new pattern of cooperation, different from direct loans the US or the island of Taiwan had offered, is more attractive to these countries as it brings more benefits to local residents and leads to sustainable development, Sun said.
Pan Deng said that Honduras' diplomatic shift came as many countries are still struggling to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and are resisting the US' hegemonic push to "decouple" with China. Honduras has set an example of making independent diplomatic decisions based on its own needs for development.
As the US' influence on Latin American countries is declining and the "money diplomacy" of the DPP authorities is losing its attraction, more countries would follow Honduras to make the wise chose in line with the trend of history, Pan said.