All is not well lately for Taiwan at the diplomatic and domestic fronts. More than 500 retired Taiwanese military officers reportedly plan to attend the 99th anniversary of the Whampoa Military Academy in mainland China. While heavily criticised by the government of President Tsai Ing-wen, her secessionist Democratic Progressive Party and their media allies, it shows the deep cultural and racial ties between people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Those ties are not so easily severed however hard the island’s secessionist ideologues have tried. It is heartening that many veterans of the two militaries still consider each other as brothers, sadly separated by history and geopolitics. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Honduras’ President Xiomara Castro tweeted that her government is preparing to switch diplomatic relations from the island to mainland China. That will make the central American nation the ninth country, or the fifth in Latin America, to make the switch since Tsai took office in May 2016. The island will be left with only 12 nations, along with the Vatican and Somaliland, that still recognise it diplomatically. That’s hardly a political achievement for Tsai or her party to write home about. But then, she has been mesmerised by the warm embrace of the United States. In her eyes, only Washington counts, even if it means turning her island into a beachhead for the Americans to take on China that could well trigger the third world war. Castro is not just another Latin American politician. A social democrat, she won a landslide victory in 2021 on a campaign to root out corruption, alleviate poverty and liberalise abortion laws for women. Like Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, she is not on the good side of Uncle Sam, especially after her latest declaration of intent to recognise mainland China. But she does have a clear-cut mandate from the people. In recent weeks, her foreign minister, Eduardo Enrique Reina, has complained that Taiwan has not responded to his country’s request to double its annual aid to US$100 million. Nor has it shown willingness to renegotiate the US$600 million debt Honduras owes. Honduras wants China to help it build three dams, the first of which already received US$298 million two years ago, and to refinance its external debts of about US$8 billion, including that owed to Taiwan. The Chinese ambassador in Costa Rica has reportedly been approached to help set up an embassy in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Honduras looks to formal Beijing relations in sign it may ditch Taiwan The Whampoa Military Academy has a long and fascinating history. It was jointly set up a century ago by the Soviets, the Comintern (or the Third International) and the Kuomintang to train Chinese communist and KMT soldiers. But that partnership ended when Chiang Kai-shek turned against the communists and launched the “white terror” purge in the late 1920s, immortalised by Andre Malraux’s La Condition humaine (The Human Condition or Man’s Fate). The academy was relocated several times during the Japanese occupation and the Chinese civil war before being re-established in Taiwan after the communists took power on the mainland. The Republic of China (ROC) Military Academy is headquartered at the Fongshan District in Kaohsiung. However, its original site was at the old Whampoa dock, hence its original name, in Guangzhou. It’s now a museum and is where the anniversary will be held. The military delegation is being organised by several veterans’ associations where many members have KMT backgrounds. It may well end up being barred from attending, seeing how a public hysteria is being whipped up by the Tsai government and pro-secession media outlets. But the controversy shows how substantial segments of the Taiwanese population, including many old military guards, identify deeply with China and their “Chineseness”. No secessionist ideology can deny that heritage. Outside the West, the Global South is increasingly morphing into the 21st century version of the old non-aligned movement. Such countries deal with China as it is advantageous to them, and can no longer be dictated to by the Anglo-American and former colonialist powers.