Xi, Xiomara Castro chart course for China-Honduras ties at historic meeting
  ·  2023-06-13  ·   Source: Xinhua News Agency

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for President of the Republic of Honduras Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento at the square outside the east entrance of the Great Hall of the People prior to their talks in Beijing, capital of China, on June 12. Xi held talks with Castro, who is on a state visit to China, in Beijing on June 12 (XINHUA)  

Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 12 held talks with visiting President of the Republic of Honduras Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento in Beijing, pledging to work with Honduras to steer the bilateral relationship toward greater development from a strategic and long-term perspective and to turn their vision of cooperation into tangible results for the greater benefit of the two peoples.

"I believe that under joint efforts from the two sides, the China-Honduras relationship will experience sound and steady development, sailing into a bright future," Xi said.

Commitment to promoting friendly ties 

Noting Castro as the first Honduran president to pay a state visit to China, Xi said her visit has "opened a new chapter in the annals of China-Honduras relationship."

Xi said the bilateral relationship has got off to a good and speedy start and enjoys great dynamism and promise since China and Honduras established diplomatic relations in March this year.

Underscoring the immediate and long-term significance of the establishment of diplomatic ties, Xi stressed "China will remain committed to developing friendly relations with Honduras, firmly support economic and social development in Honduras, and forge a good friendship and partnership with Honduras featuring mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit, and common development."

According to a joint communique released after the conclusion of the talks, China and Honduras have agreed to strengthen political guidance, promote exchanges at all levels, strengthen cultural exchanges and cooperation in various fields, and be good friends and partners that have mutual respect, equality, mutual benefits and common development.

The historic meeting between the two heads of state took place less than three months after the establishment of diplomatic ties, fully demonstrating the great importance the two sides attach to enhancing ties, and their important consensus will inject strong impetus into the promotion of China-Honduras ties, said Song Junying, head of the Department for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the China Institute of International Studies.

One-China principle as political foundation 

Regarding the deepening of political mutual trust, Xi said the one-China principle was the primary prerequisite and political foundation for the establishment of diplomatic ties and the development of bilateral relations between China and Honduras, and it is believed that Honduras will act faithfully upon it.

For her part, Castro said Honduras firmly supports and abides by the one-China principle, as well as efforts from the Chinese government to realize national reunification, and Honduras deeply admires China's development achievements under the strong leadership of President Xi.

Xi also voiced China's staunch support for Honduras' efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and independence, promote development and improve people's livelihoods. China supports Honduras in choosing its own development path suited to its national conditions, and opposes any external interference in Honduras' internal affairs, Xi said.

China is ready to strengthen exchanges of experience in state governance, share experience in poverty eradication, social governance and corruption punishment, and encourage exchanges and cooperation among governments, legislatures, political parties and localities, Xi added.

Yuan Dongzhen, deputy director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that adhering to the one-China principle has proved to be the right choice in keeping with the general interests of the world and the trend of the times, and boosting the development of China-Honduras ties will also have an important bearing on the promotion of democracy in international relations.

Enhancing cooperation across the spectrum 

During the talks, Xi stressed that the two sides should synergize strategies, building multiple pillars for cooperation mechanisms between the two countries, and pursue common development with the Belt and Road Initiative as the main line.

Xi said China will promote the early introduction of Honduran specialty products to the Chinese market, and is willing to start the negotiation process for a free trade agreement at an early date, adding that the two sides should promote people-to-people exchanges.

Castro said the Honduran side firmly believes that friendly cooperation with China will bring Honduras more and better development opportunities, and the country looks forward to strengthening cooperation with China in such areas as trade, investment, infrastructure, telecommunication, energy, science and technology, and people-to-people exchanges.

Experts have noted that despite their difference in size, the economies of China and Honduras are highly complementary. The two countries' cooperation in various fields thus enjoys huge potential and broad prospects.

Xi said China is willing to work with Honduras to strengthen collaboration on multilateral fronts, jointly safeguard international order and the basic norms governing international relations, enhance solidarity among developing countries, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries and international fairness and justice.

"Cooperation with China in various fields will help facilitate post-COVID-19 economic recovery and development for Honduras, and successful cooperation between China and Honduras can also exert a radial effect on the continuous deepening of China-Latin America relations in the new era," Song Junying said.

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