Xiomara Castro arrives in China for historic 6-day visit

Honduran President Xiomara Castro has arrived in China on Friday, starting what is called by both sides a “historic visit.”

This is Castro’s first visit to China. She is also the first Honduran President to pay a state visit to the country. Her visit comes on the heels of the inauguration of China’s Embassy to Honduras, less than three months of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Honduras.

Hailing bilateral ties has ushered in a new chapter at a quick pace, officials and experts from both countries hold confidence that cooperation on multiple fields and closer exchanges are about to set off in full swing. 

‘A historic meeting’ 

Castro would visit China from June 9 to 14 and she wrote on Twitter “the refounding of Honduras demands new political, scientific, technical, commercial and cultural horizons.”

“We are delighted to visit China and will travel with the President to several cities so that we can get to know each other and strengthen our bilateral relations, fostering an everlasting China-Honduras friendship,” Hector Zelaya, secretary of Castro, said in an interview with the China Media Group (CMG) ahead of the visit. 

During Castro’s visit, the two heads of state will have a historic meeting to jointly chart the course for further growth of bilateral relations, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Discussions between the two leaders are anticipated to center around the augmentation of Honduras’ agricultural exports to the Chinese market, extending China’s investment in Honduras, and collaborative endeavors under the Belt and Road Initiative, forging paths towards shared development and connectivity between the two countries.

“China looks forward to working with Honduras and taking this visit as an opportunity to deepen mutual trust, expand cooperation, enhance friendship, and promote the steady and sustained development of the bilateral relations,” said Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, on Wednesday. 

Quick-pace development 

On March 26, 2023, China and Honduras officially established diplomatic relations, opening a new chapter for bilateral relations.

Officials from both countries said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries have delivered on their commitments and worked together with a sense of urgency to bring bilateral relations to a fast track with the principles and objectives of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development in mind.

Members of the media were in the first Honduran delegation to visit China after the two countries established diplomatic ties.

From April 30 to May 9, about 30 reporters from Honduran radio, TV, newspapers and social media platforms, visited Chinese cities, including Guizhou, Chongqing, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai, to experience the country’s economic, social and cultural development on different dimensions.

On June 2, Castro appointed Salvador Moncada as the first ambassador of Honduras to China.

Three days later, the inauguration ceremony of the Chinese Embassy in Honduras was held in Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.

All the Chinese diplomats at the embassy, representatives from the Honduran government and National Congress, renowned figures from various sectors, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives from Chinese institutions and the Chinese community in Honduras attended the event.

“The newly opened Chinese Embassy in Honduras will serve as a bridge between the two countries for deeper political mutual trust, more practical cooperation and closer friendship between the two peoples,” said Wang at Tuesday’s press conference commenting on the event.

‘Great potential, great benefits’ 

Noting that establishing Honduras-China diplomatic ties is an independent and courageous historic decision, Manuel Antonio Diaz, attorney general of Honduras, said that no country can ignore China’s status and role in the global economy, finance and trade.

According to Chinese Customs statistics, trade between China and Honduras reached $1.589 billion in 2022.

Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina told CMG that the two countries will begin trade talks “soon.” He noted that the two countries are evaluating other products such as shrimp and melons, adding China has also expressed interest in buying Honduran products such as beef and bananas.

“There will be new possibilities for the Honduran people to fight against poverty, and new opportunities to enhance the Honduran economy and its development,” Reina said in another interview with CGTN.

Other Honduran officials expressed willingness to cooperate with China under the Belt and Road Initiative. 

Notably, the construction of Honduras’ Patuca III dam project, was successfully finished by the Power Construction Corporation of China. Building upon this fruitful collaboration, Honduras now looks to secure China’s assistance for the Patuca II project, further cementing their partnership in advancing sustainable energy solutions.

As China has embarked a journey for high-quality development, it is able to provide great opportunities for Honduras to boost regional, agricultural and also tourist development, Rong Ying, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies told CGTN. 

“So, great potential and certainly great benefits for the two countries,” he added.

Originally published in CGTN

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