Sunday, October 21, 2007

Costa Rican president visits China

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias(C) and Chinese President Hu Jintao(L) review an honour guard at a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Arias on Wednesday signed several accords with his Chinese counterpart, months after the Central American nation established diplomatic relations with the Asian giant.(AFP/Fredric J Brown) BEIJING (AFP) - Costa Rican president Oscar Arias on Wednesday signed several accords with his Chinese counterpart, months after the Central American nation established diplomatic relations with the Asian giant.

Arias and Chinese president Hu Jintao signed 11 contracts relating to trade, the economy, banking, technology and culture.

Arias, who is making a week-long landmark trip to China, broke off ties with Taiwan in June after 60 years of diplomatic relations.

"I am very honoured that we're the first Central American country to establish a formal relationship with the great country of the People's Republic of China," said Arias, the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Taiwan has seen its number of allies dwindle over the years as competition for supporters with rival China heats up. The two have been accused of using so-called "dollar diplomacy" to get nations to ally with them.

China is Costa Rica's number-two export market after the United States. In 2006, the Central American nation sold more than 1.08 billion dollars in goods and services to Beijing.

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