Honduras has sent a delegation to China led by Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina to speed up the process of establishing diplomatic relations with China, a move that also calls for severing ties with Taiwan, the Central American country's media reported Wednesday.
The move follows Honduran President Xiomara Castro instructing Reina last week to begin the necessary procedures for switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
China welcomed the delegation's visit, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin saying Thursday that upholding the one-China principle "represents the prevailing trend of the world."
Rodolfo Pastor, secretary of state in the office of the presidency, told El Heraldo that Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang will receive the delegation. Castro herself is also scheduled to visit China, according to the Honduran newspaper.
Honduras is set to become the latest nation to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China. If realized, only 13 countries will continue to diplomatically recognize the self-ruled democratic island in Asia.
Wang said at a press conference Beijing is "ready to establish and grow bilateral relations with Honduras on the basis of equality and mutual respect."
Taiwan said Thursday it has decided to recall its ambassador to Honduras to express its "strong dissatisfaction" with the dispatch of the country's delegation to China.
The island's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that by sending the delegation to China, Honduras has disregarded a bilateral diplomatic friendship that had endured for over 80 years and has "seriously hurt the feelings of Taiwan's government and people."
Taiwan, which Beijing regards as its own territory, currently maintains formal diplomatic relations with 14 countries, of which eight are in the Latin American and Caribbean regions.
Since 2017, Panama, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Nicaragua have switched their diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, with China offering significant financial aid to the respective countries.
China and Taiwan have been separately governed since they split in 1949 due to a civil war. Countries and states that have maintained diplomatic relations with Taipei include the Vatican, as well as the Pacific islands of Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands.