June 8, 2023
BEIJING – Honduran President Xiomara Castro will pay a state visit to China starting from Friday, the first such visit to be paid by the president of the Central American country.
The six-day visit, aimed at further boosting the newly established diplomatic ties, was announced by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, just two days after the inauguration of the Chinese embassy in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular news briefing on Wednesday that the heads of state of the two countries will have a “historic meeting” to jointly plan and lead the future development of bilateral ties.
China hopes to work with Honduras to take the visit as an opportunity to deepen mutual trust, expand cooperation, enhance friendship and achieve steady growth of their ties, Wang said.
The establishment of diplomatic relations has ushered in “a brand-new chapter in history” for ties between China and Honduras, the spokesman said.
He said the two countries have worked actively to deliver on their commitments and have lost no time to conduct “full coordination”.
Following the principles of, and aiming for mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development, China and Honduras have promoted the rapid development of bilateral ties, Wang said.
Honduras severed its “diplomatic relations” with China’s Taiwan region and established diplomatic relations with China in late March.
Since then, China has repeatedly voiced its welcome for a visit by Castro as soon as possible, and said it hopes to strengthen high-level exchanges and promote cooperation in various fields with the Central American country.
Yu Bo, charge d’affaires of the Chinese embassy in Honduras, told reporters at the embassy’s inauguration ceremony that in less than three months, the two countries have accelerated coordination and cooperation in fields such as economy, trade, agriculture, science and technology, culture, education and media.
He said that approval is being processed for imports of Honduran products, including melons and coffee to China, and these “will soon appear on the dining tables of Chinese people”.
Agence France-Presse quoted Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina as saying “a series of memorandums, documents, framework agreements will be signed” during Castro’s visit.
Chen Yuanting, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the visit is a “landmark” and shows the Honduran government’s will to conduct win-win cooperation with China.
The rapid unfolding of bilateral cooperation demonstrates that the two countries have entered “a formal process of exchanges”, Chen said.
China was an important trade partner of Honduras even before diplomatic relations were established, according to Chen.
The Honduran government is preparing to launch talks with China over a free-trade agreement, which, if reached, would serve to greatly promote the two countries’ trade cooperation, Chen said.