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The backstory: Taiwan sees itself as distinctly separate from mainland China, but China considers the island part of its territory under its one-China principle. With that, China doesn't want foreign interference in the issue. No country can have formal diplomatic ties with both China and Taiwan – they have to choose one or the other. Since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, nine diplomatic allies have broken ties with Taiwan, and just 13 sovereign states currently recognize it.
More recently: Over the past year, tensions have risen over the Taiwan issue, especially between China and the US, which acknowledges China's one-China principle and maintains formal relations with Beijing. China also has a growing influence in Latin America. Honduran President Xiomara Castro recently said her government wanted to start relations with China.
The development: On Saturday, Honduras and Taiwan severed their ties, which go back to the 1940s. Then, on Sunday, Honduras formally established diplomatic relations with China, with foreign ministers from both countries signing a joint agreement in Beijing. Taiwan still has informal ties with over 100 countries. Tsai is about to head off on a 10-day trip, visiting Guatemala and Belize with a brief stopover in the US.
"Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and as of today, the Honduran government has informed Taiwan of the severance of diplomatic relations, pledging not to have any official relationship or contact with Taiwan," said the Honduran Foreign Ministry.
"President Castro and her ruling team have been harboring illusions on China and had brought up the issue of switching recognition on the campaign trail," said Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu to journalists in Taipei. "China has not ceased its attempts to lure away Honduras with financial incentives."
"We inform sternly the Taiwan authorities that engaging in separatist activities for Taiwan independence is against the will and interests of the Chinese nation and against the trend of history, and is doomed to a dead end," said China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang.