Belize, Guatemala Reaffirm Alliance With Taiwan Amid China Threats

Belize, Guatemala Reaffirm Alliance With Taiwan Amid China Threats
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen leaves a hotel in New York on March 29, 2023. (Yuki Iwamura/AP Photo)
Aldgra Fredly

The governments of Belize and Guatemala have reaffirmed their diplomatic support for Taiwan during talks with the Taiwanese leader amid the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) threats against the self-ruled island.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in Belize on Monday, the final stop of her 10-day trip to Central America, where she met with Belizian Prime Minister Johnny Briceno for bilateral talks.

The two nations signed a framework to expand cooperation in various areas, including agriculture, technology, education, and climate change. Belize’s Parliament also passed a resolution reaffirming its support for Taiwan.

“The resolution states that Belize reaffirms its stand with the people and the government of Taiwan in solidarity and continues to support Taiwan’s participation in all related international organizations,” Belize’s Press Office stated on Facebook.

Guatemala, another Central American ally of Taiwan, made a similar move when its president reaffirmed his commitment to speaking up on the world stage in support of the island’s sovereignty.

“Taiwan, through its resilience, has shown the world that it is capable of overcoming global challenges, especially its efforts in maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and across the world,” Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei said.

Taiwan and Guatemala signed a Basic Cooperation Agreement during Tsai’s visit, which will help to expand opportunities for new technical cooperation and exchanges between the two countries.

Belize and Guatemala are among the 13 nations that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, a democratically-elected island that Beijing claims as its own and has vowed to conquer by force if necessary.

Tsai’s visit came weeks after Honduras severed ties with Taiwan in favor of China’s relations.

Tsai will transit the United States through California on her way back to Taiwan on April 5, where she will meet with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif).

CCP Vows ‘Resolute Countermeasures’

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Monday that Beijing strongly opposed any form of official interaction and contact between U.S. and Taiwanese officials.

The CCP vowed to respond with “resolute measures” if Tsai and McCarthy meet, she told reporters.

Mao also denounced Tsai’s trip to Central America and her pursuit of Taiwan’s independence, saying that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory and that “no force can hold back this trend.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry dismissed Mao’s statement as “increasingly absurd” and reiterated that Taiwan is a sovereign nation that can independently communicate and develop relations with other countries.

“It does not accept interference or suppression by any country for any reason, and will not set limits on itself because of intimidation or interference,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Even if the authoritarian government continues to expand and increase coercion, Taiwan will not back down, and friends from all walks of life in the United States who support Taiwan and Taiwan–U.S. relations will not back down,” it added.

State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel has clarified that transits by high-level Taiwan authorities in the United States are not visits, but rather “private and unofficial.”

“Every Taiwan president has transited the United States. President Tsai has transited the U.S. six times since taking office in 2016. This will be her seventh transit,” Patel told reporters on March 29.

“There’s no reason for Beijing to turn this transit, which is consistent with longstanding U.S. policy, into something it’s not or to overreact,” he added.

20 Chinese Warplanes Sent Toward Taiwan

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that it detected 20 Chinese aircraft and three naval vessels near the island at around 6 a.m. local time, with nine aircraft spotted crossing the Taiwan Strait median line and entering Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone.

Taiwan responded by deploying aircraft, navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to monitor the Chinese military’s activities.

The CCP staged military drills around Taiwan following former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) visit to Taiwan in August 2022, and restricted military-to-military communication with the United States.

It remains unclear whether Beijing will respond with comparable action this time.

Jackson Richman contributed to this report.