Belize and Guatemala reaffirm ties with Taiwan

“Together we can promote our shared values ​​such as democracy, the right of the people to self-determination and respect for international law,” said Johnny Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize, in a speech before the country’s National Assembly.

Belize is following in the footsteps of Guatemala, another Taiwan ally, whose leader declared his relationship with the autonomous island “immutable” during a visit by Ms. Ing-wen.

The two Central American nations represent two of Taiwan’s 13 formal allies around the world, a number that has dwindled as China pushes and funnels money to isolate the island.

Belize Taiwan Central America
Belizean Prime Minister Johnny Briceño speaks during the visit of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to the National Assembly in Belmopan, Belize (Moises Castillo/AP)

The trip came just a week after Honduras announced it was cutting allegiances to Taiwan in favor of China, possibly prompted by a hydroelectric dam project in central Honduras built by a Chinese company.

Over the past two decades, China has slowly carved out a foothold in Latin America by pouring money into the region, investing in major infrastructure, energy and space projects.

That investment has translated into growing power for China and a growing number of allies at a time of geopolitical importance.

“The people of Taiwan face constant threats and pressure from their neighbor across the Taiwan Strait,” Ms. Ing-wen said of China, speaking in the Belizean capital Belmopan.

Taipei, meanwhile, has struggled to keep up.

During her stay in Guatemala, Ms. Ing-wen visited a rural hospital built with a donation from Taiwan.

Meanwhile, before the National Assembly of Belize, the country’s leader, Mr. Briceño, listed a series of development projects financed by Taiwan, including agricultural programs and funds to build key infrastructure such as hospitals.


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