Taipei, Mar 26 (IANS): Honduras has formally established diplomatic ties with China and severed them with Taiwan, ending a decades-long relationship and dealing the latest blow to the self-ruled democratic island in its struggle for recognition, the media reported.
"The government of the Republic of Honduras recognises the existence of one China in the world and that the government of the People's Republic of China represents China as a whole," its ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.
"Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory and as of today, the government of Honduras has informed Taiwan about the rupture of diplomatic relations," it added, CNN reported.
China, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory despite never having ruled it, refuses to maintain diplomatic ties with any country that recognises Taiwan.
It has spent much of the past 40 years attempting to isolate the self-ruled island by chipping away at its diplomatic allies with offers of economic support, CNN reported.
Honduras had until now been one of just 14 countries that still diplomatically recognised Taipei over Beijing, CNN reported.
Soon after the announcement by Honduras, Taiwan confirmed that ties had been formally severed.
"To safeguard national sovereignty and dignity, we have decided to immediately cease diplomatic relations with Honduras and suspend all bilateral cooperation plans," Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said at a press conference, adding that Taiwan was asking Honduras to shut its embassy in Taipei.
China also confirmed the move, saying it had signed a "Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations" with Honduras on Sunday, CNN reported.
"The two governments (of China and Honduras) have decided to recognise each other and establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level, effective from the date of signature of this communique," a statement from China's Foreign Ministry read.
"There is but one China in the world and the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory," it added.
Honduran President Xiomara Castro had announced on March 14 that the switch was imminent, CNN reported.