Chinese and Taiwanese flags in Taipei. Photo: Reuters
Chinese and Taiwanese flags in Taipei. Photo: Reuters

Haiti and Honduras are likely to be the next countries in line to break ranks with Taiwan, the Taipei-based Liberty Times has reported, quoting diplomatic sources.

Earlier this week the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean ended its 77 years of ties with Taipei and opened an embassy in Beijing.

This followed Haiti opening an official representative office in the Chinese capital, though the island nation in the Caribbean still remains a diplomatic ally of Taipei.

Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Rodrigue visited Taipei from Sunday to Thursday but that did not stop speculation that the country could be the next to switch.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry has vehemently denied that there were cracks on the longstanding alliance between Taiwan and Haiti. The two established diplomatic ties in the 1950s.

Even though Rodrigue’s visit is expected to be followed by a visit by Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the main purpose of the visits could be to negotiate a financial deal, which usually signals a “final rip-off” attempt before jumping ship, a former Kuomintang lawmaker told Taipei Times.

Taipei’s former ambassador to Haiti also expressed worries about a domino effect as the Dominican Republic’s severing of ties is likely to influence its neighbors that still support Taipei.

Panama became the “first domino” when it embraced Beijing in June last year, and all nations will lean towards Beijing for bigger economic perks and those yet to ditch Taiwan may also demand more from the island, analysts said.

“It goes without saying that demands will be made during the Haitian President’s upcoming visit, or maybe both sides have already closed a deal. In either case, the amount of money involved could be an astronomical figure [to make Haiti stay loyal] and apparently the Haitian side has gained leverage when Beijing can poach it with more pecuniary aid,” the diplomat said.

Honduras ‘swaying’

Honduras in Central America is also “swaying”, now that it’s bilateral trade with China is several times that with Taiwan.

Taiwan has 10 remaining allies in Latin America and the Caribbean — Haiti, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, St Lucia, St Christopher and Nevis, plus St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Former foreign minister Francisco Ou also warned that Taipei’s ties with the landlocked country of Burkina Faso, in West Africa, could also be on a shaky ground.

If Burkina Faso sends a delegation to Beijing to attend the China-African Cooperation Summit in September that could be a gauge of the state’s ties with Taipei.

Meanwhile, another ally of Taiwan, Swaziland, a small kingdom in southeastern Africa, has pledged loyalty during Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit last month.

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