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Honduran and Chinese Presidents Hold Historic Meeting in Beijing, Signing 22 Accords

June 13, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Chinese President Xi Jinping and his guest, Honduran President Xiomara Castro, met yesterday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, as part of Castro’s historic state visit to China. Aside from their public meeting, after which the two witnessed the signing of 22 bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding, they also met privately, before attending the state dinner held to honor the Honduran President. Castro is the first Honduran President ever to visit China, and as Xi Jinping pointed out, she is also the first female President of her country.

The joint declaration issued following their meeting, indicates a wide range of exciting cooperation opportunities across the political and economic spectra, beginning with Honduras’ decision to “actively participate” in the Belt and Road Initiative. It also “supports the Global Development Initiative ... supports the Global Civilization Initiative and the Global Security Initiative proposed by the Chinese side and is prepared to actively participate in same, recognizing their important role in responding to global challenges.”

Both heads of state expressed great satisfaction at the cooperation documents signed during Castro’s visit, too numerous to detail here. But the Honduran President’s remarks at the open part of her meeting with Xi really give a sense of the quality of this event. She told Xi that, having experienced the cruelty of the neoliberal system that followed the 2009 coup against her husband, President José Manuel Zelaya, her goal is “to achieve real and equitable human development to obtain real independence. That’s why we’re here.” Our priority, she said, “is global and domestic security. We have the possibility to define, plan and execute joint investment projects with co-financing for infrastructure, roads, ports, airports, telecommunications, energy, food security, research, science, technology, railroad construction between the Atlantic and the Pacific and a Free Trade Agreement which takes into account our asymmetries. The history of art and culture are essential in this relationship with China,” as well, she said.

In his remarks, Xi commented that Castro’s visit “opens a new chapter” in the history of bilateral relations “which has a special and important significance.” He noted that she had faithfully followed through on her electoral promise to establish relations with China, which, he said, “is a historic decision that demonstrates a firm political will.” Xi said, since becoming President, “you have led the Honduran people to stand up for themselves and to reach new achievements in the country’s development. I sincerely congratulate you for that.... China will unwaveringly develop friendly relations with Honduras, will firmly support its economic and social development, and is prepared to be a good friend and partner, with mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development.” Our bilateral relations will be guided by a perspective that is both strategic and for the long term, he said.

Both leaders recognized that “history and the world are changing in ways never before seen,” and both are “prepared to jointly defend the international order based on international law and the UN Charter and true multilateralism.” Xi committed to open China’s market to specialized Honduran products that could previously only reach the mainland by going through Taiwan. China will also begin negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Honduras and a special trade mission led by China’s deputy trade minister will travel to Tegucigalpa in July to begin that process.

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