WHY HAS PRESSURE GROWN ON TAIWAN?
During the eight years in which Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou was president of Taiwan, the island lost diplomatic recognition from just one country.
But relations plunged in 2016 with the election of his successor Tsai Ing-wen.
She enraged China by espousing a position that Taiwan is an “already independent” sovereign nation that is not subordinate to Beijing.
China has since ramped up diplomatic and military pressure on the island, with eight nations ditching Taipei to recognise Beijing. Honduras would be the ninth.
HOW HAS CHINA WOOED TAIWAN’S ALLIES?
China has used economic leverage to poach several of Taiwan’s erstwhile allies in recent years, especially in Latin America.
The imminent switch by Honduras came weeks after the Latin American nation’s government announced it was negotiating with China to build a major hydroelectric dam.
What China offers countries is, however, much more than just infrastructure investment, analysts say.
“China represents one of the largest markets in the world and it is growing and expanding,” said Henry Rodriguez, head of the economics department at the National Autonomous University of Honduras.
“Taiwan has been a partner to Honduras for many years, they supported us, but people say the support they give us is not very significant because it is capped at US$50 million a year and that China will be able to give us more support.”