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Honduras’ rapprochement with China is not final: leftist candidate adviser

By Gustavo Palencia

TEGUCIGALPA, Nov 23 (Reuters) – The proposal by the leftist candidate for the Honduran presidency to establish diplomatic and trade relations with China to the detriment of Taiwan is not final, the head of the group that developed its government plan told Reuters.

Former First Lady Xiomara Castro, 62, who is seeking the presidency for the Libertad y Refundación (Libre) party, announced at the beginning of September, when presenting her government plan, which would establish relations with China, to win in the elections of the Sunday.

Months ago, Honduras – one of the 15 countries that maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan – celebrated 80 years of ties with the Asian island, considered by China as a rebel province and an ally of the United States, the main trading partner of the impoverished Central American nation.

“There is no final decision, it is a proposal that is being raised, but it has to be seen at the time of the final decision, the advantages and disadvantages that other sectors may pose. The consultations will be made when the government is,” he said in an interview Hugo Noé, the coordinator of the group that prepared Libre’s government plan, told Reuters.

“The United States considers that relationship as more problematic, we would have to take these elements into account because they would also be at stake, aspects such as the situation of Hondurans in the United States, the level of trade,” added Noé, former Minister of Finance and former President of the Bank. Central Honduras (BCH).

The United States is not only Honduras’s largest trading partner. Just over a million Hondurans reside there, legal and illegal, who annually send more than 5,000 million dollars in remittances that represent more than 20% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Castro, wife of the ousted president Manuel Zelaya, is ranked first with an advantage of 17 percentage points over the official candidate, Nasry Asfura, according to a survey by the Center for Democracy Studies (CESPAD), but analysts estimate that the result would be much more close.

Sunday’s winner will replace conservative president Juan Orlando Hernández at the end of January, who faces accusations of corruption and ties to drug trafficking. Hernández was recently in Taiwan. (Edited by Diego Oré)

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