Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hu to visit Costa Rica, first Chinese president in Central America

San Jose, Costa Rica (DPA) - Chinese President Hu Jintao is set to visit Costa Rica beginning Sunday, in the first visit by a Chinese leader travels to Central America. "It will be a historic visit," a Costa Rican Foreign Ministry official told German press agency DPA.

Central America has traditionally favoured Taiwan, but Costa Rica switched recognition to China in June 2007, after 63 years of ties with Taipei. Only 23 countries recognize Taiwan, and half of them are in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The bilateral agenda between China and Costa Rica includes talks towards a free-trade agreement.

China has granted Costa Rica millions of dollars in financial cooperation, buying bonds from the Central American country and promising to build a modern football stadium in San Jose.

Taiwan has said that it accepts its allies recognizing China if they also maintain diplomatic ties with Taipei. But China, which sees Taiwan as its breakaway province, insists that foreign countries must first cut ties with Taiwan before they can open diplomatic relations with Beijing.

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