Former Economy Minister and business leader Antonio Burgués will serve as the first Costa Rican Ambassador to China at the newly opened embassy in Beijing.
President Oscar Arias divulged this news to the press in a speech Saturday during a visit to the Southern Zone to announce the approval of construction on a new international airport in the region.
Burgués, 54, served as Arias’ Economy Minister during the President’s first term from 1986-1990. He also acted as president of the Chamber of Exporters (CADEXCO) for 12 years and is the current treasurer of Arias’ National Liberation Party (PLN).
Although Burgués has no diplomatic experience, Arias is entrusting him with what he has called “one of the most important embassies.” China is now the second biggest importer of Costa Rican products, and Arias has expressed on numerous occasions his desire to see trade between the two countries increase.
For Burgués to officially become an ambassador, he must be sworn in by the President’s Cabinet and be approved by the Chinese government.
Costa Rica and China established diplomatic ties June 1 (TT, June 8), and the Costa Rican Embassy in Beijing has been up and running since July 5. The embassy building will also house the Costa Rican Consulate and an office of the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX).
In the coming months, a delegation of high-level Chinese officials plans to visit Costa Rica, and a potential free-trade agreement between the two countries is among topics they plan to discuss. President Oscar Arias is also scheduling a visit to Beijing.
Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno said he hopes Costa Rica’s embassy in Beijing will serve as a launching point for expanded ties around Asia.
“This decision is one of the efforts we’re making as a government and as a foreign ministry to open embassies in Singapore and India and to achieve Costa Rica’s incorporation in the Asian Pacific Forum,” Stagno said.