Taiwan president thanks Belize for support amid China ‘threats’
Belize City, Belize — Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday thanked Belize for its diplomatic support amid “constant threats and pressure” from China.
Tsai met Belize’s prime minister on the final stop of a visit to Central America, where allies have been dwindling, and barely a week after Honduras became the latest to switch ties to Beijing.
Only Belize and Guatemala remain allies of Taiwan in Central America after Nicaragua shifted its allegiance to Beijing in 2021, El Salvador in 2018, Panama in 2017 and Costa Rica in 2007.
China considers self-ruled, democratic Taiwan part of its territory to be retaken one day, and does not accept other countries recognizing both Beijing and Taipei.
Tsai said the tiny nation of Belize, through its participation in the United Nations and other fora her country are excluded from, “has helped give voice to the 23 million people of Taiwan.”
Belize is a country of about 400,000 people.
Taiwan, Tsai added in an address to Belize’s National Assembly, faced “constant threats and pressure from the neighbor on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.”
Other than Guatemala and Belize, Taiwan retains diplomatic ties with 11 other countries: Paraguay, Haiti, the Holy See, Eswatini and seven small Caribbean and Pacific nations.
Belize Prime Minister John Briceno thanked Tsai for her visit to “strengthen this partnership, and reaffirm our commitment to prosperity for our people.”
In Guatemala on Sunday, Tsai vowed Taiwan would “continue assisting” its allies, while her counterpart Alejandro Giammattei said his country would maintain “recognition of the sovereignty” of Taiwan.
Tsai stopped in New York on her way to Guatemala, and has announced plans to meet current US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California on her way home, angering Beijing.
McCarthy confirmed he would meet Tsai on Wednesday, defying warnings from China that he was “playing with fire.”
Latin America has been a key diplomatic battleground since Taiwan and China separated in 1949, following a civil war in which the communists seized power on the mainland while the nationalists retreated to Taiwan.