The presidents of Honduras and the People’s Republic of China met in Beijing on Monday to discuss the beginning of a free trade agreement between the two nations.
Honduran President Xiomara Castro’s six-day state visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping comes as concern grows in the United States over a suspected Chinese spy base being built in nearby Cuba.
“You have resolutely fulfilled your election promise of establishing diplomatic relations with China, made a historic decision, and demonstrated your firm political will,” Xi said to Castro in Beijing.
Honduras and China established formal relations in March of this year, and the Honduran government is hoping the new relationship will open avenues to relieve their burdensome debt obligations and expand exports to the mainland Asian country.
China, meanwhile, will benefit from Honduras’ policy shift away from neighboring Taiwan – a self-governing island the mainland asserts rightfully belongs to the communist state.
Beijing claims self-ruled, democratic Taiwan is part of its territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary, and refuses most contacts with countries that maintain formal ties with Taiwan.
Honduras cut ties with Taiwan in the months leading up to their new diplomatic relationship with China.
“One China principle is the primary premise and political foundation for the establishment of loyal diplomatic relations and the development of bilateral relations,” Xi said.
Taiwan is now recognized by only 13 countries, including Vatican City.
Administration officials confirmed on Sunday that China is working to ramp up its spying capabilities in Cuba. China has maintained a spy base on the island, which is 90 miles off of South Florida, since at least 2019, officials have said.
“This is an ongoing issue, and not a new development, and the arrangement as characterized in the reporting does not comport with our understanding,” an administration official told Fox News on Saturday.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday that China and Cuba have reached a secret agreement for China to establish an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island, allowing Chinese intelligence services to “scoop up electronic communications throughout the southeastern U.S., where many military bases are located, and monitor U.S. ship traffic.”
The Biden administration initially said the report was “not accurate” before confirming the news.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Tara Prindiville and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.