A solid and speedy start
  ·  2024-04-01  ·   Source: NO.14 APRIL 6, 2023
Chinese Ambassador to Honduras Yu Bo

China and Honduras celebrated the first anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations on March 26. In a recent interview with China Hoy, a Spanish monthly published by CICG Americas, Chinese Ambassador to Honduras Yu Bo said over the past year, bilateral relations have shown robust vitality as well as yielded tangible results, already benefiting the two peoples. Edited excerpts of the interview follow: 

China Hoy: As a participant in the process of establishing diplomatic relations and China's top envoy to Honduras, what does this first year mean to you?

Yu Bo: China and Honduras established diplomatic relations on the basis of the one-China principle, which demonstrates again that it is a consensus accepted by the international community. At the same time, the two countries uphold similar views on development, security and international order. Both sides oppose all forms of hegemonism and power politics, and are committed to promoting the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

The world today has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation. China is willing to work with Honduras, guided by the consensus reached between the two heads of state, to enhance mutual political trust, promote high-quality cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), deepen practical cooperation and work together toward a better future. (The BRI is a China-proposed initiative that aims to boost connectivity along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.—Ed.)

The booth of Honduras at the Sixth China International Import Expo in Shanghai on November 6, 2023 (XINHUA)

In June 2023, Honduran President Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento made a historic visit to China. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with President Xiomara Castro and reiterated China's support for the economic and social development of Honduras. What's your take on their meeting?

That was the first ever state visit to China by a Honduran president. The leaders of the two countries made top-level plans, providing strategic guidance and fundamental principles for the future of China-Honduras relations. Both sides agreed to strengthen political guidance, promote cultural and other forms of exchange and cooperation at all levels, and forge a good friendship and partnership featuring mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development.

During the meeting, President Xiomara Castro said Honduras firmly supports and abides by the one-China principle, and firmly backs China's efforts to realize national reunification.

She also said Honduras admires China's development achievements under the strong leadership of President Xi and expressed Honduras' conviction that developing friendly and cooperative relations with China will help it obtain more and better development opportunities.

After the meeting, the leaders witnessed the signing of 17 BRI cooperation documents in diverse fields. The two countries also issued a joint statement.

The two sides reached a consensus on negotiating a free trade agreement and promoting pragmatic cooperation. China welcomes Honduran specialty products to enter the Chinese market, and Honduras is willing to use platforms such as the China International Import Expo to expand exports to China. China encourages domestic companies to participate in Honduran economic development, energy, environment, infrastructure, telecommunications and other projects, while Honduras welcomes Chinese investment and businesses and will provide policy support and facilitation measures. China will also provide opportunities in the fields of health and education for Honduras. 

Performers at a reception celebrating the first anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Honduras in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on March 22 (XINHUA)

What can you share about Chinese investment is Honduras?

The two countries have strong economic complementarities and great potential for cooperation. We see broad prospects after Honduras joined the BRI. The Honduran Government is promoting the implementation of the Plan for the Reconstruction and Sustainable Development of Honduras, which contains the policies and measures of the government concerning economy, livelihoods and social development. Against this backdrop, Honduras attaches great importance to Chinese investment and warmly welcomes Chinese companies to start businesses in Honduras.

Over the year, many companies in the textile, construction and feed industries have begun investment projects in Honduras. We encourage more Chinese companies to participate in Honduras's economic development and increase their investment in education, energy, infrastructure, communications, health and other areas that Honduras prioritizes for development. There are also bright prospects for cooperation between the two sides in finance, agriculture, culture, tourism, science and technology and other fields.

Honduras is reportedly to open a commercial office in Shanghai to promote its trade with China. What products from Honduras can find a market in China? What opportunities does China's development provide for countries like Honduras?

Agriculture is a traditionally dominant industry in Honduras with many high-quality products. At present, Honduran products such as coffee beans, bananas and white shrimps have entered the Chinese market. Many coffee shops in China's major cities have begun using Honduran coffee beans, which are highly favored by domestic consumers.

In addition, Honduran cigars also enjoy a good reputation internationally, and producers hold high hopes for the Chinese market. I believe that with the deepening of economic and trade ties between the two countries, more high-quality products from Honduras will be sold to the Chinese market.

China is the world's second largest economy. Its overall trend of economic recovery and solid economic fundamentals for long-term growth remain unchanged. This year, the global recovery is expected to continue to be slow and unbalanced. The vast majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries are looking forward to China further releasing its potential and providing more opportunities. 

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, Honduras has enhanced trade ties with China, benefiting from Chinese goods and services. The export of Honduran products to China will drive up its foreign trade. Last year, the trade volume between China and Honduras reached $1.91 billion, an increase of 20.9 percent year on year. Honduras' exports to China nearly doubled on an annual basis.

In the long run, the continuous expansion of China's middle-income group will also provide a broad market for Honduran products and services.

In addition, China's pursuit of green and sustainable development strongly matches the goals of Honduras, and the two sides have the potential to join their efforts in this field.

What development has been made in other fields of bilateral exchange?

In the past year, the agreement on mutual exemption of visas for holders of diplomatic, official, service, and ordinary passports has come into effect between the two countries, making personnel exchanges more convenient. The first batch of Honduran students has started their studies in China. Honduran journalists have made their first trip to China, providing comprehensive reports on China's modernization to the Honduran public. China and Honduras continue to cooperate on archaeological excavations at sites of the Maya Civilization.

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson

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