China and Costa Rica – So Happy Together

June 6, 2008

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Costa Rica’s romance with China.

The union has brought Ticos millions of dollars in aid and trade.

Since they forged diplomatic ties on June 6, 2007, the two nations have signed about a dozen accords in areas ranging from technology to free trade, sports to tourism.

China has donated $20 million to help Tico flood victims and plans to build a new $72 million national stadium here in the next two years to replace the current crumbling arena.

The two nations are also discussing a possible free-trade agreement, as well as Chinese-directed public works projects on Costa Rican soil.

Exports to China are up. High-level diplomats from both countries now frequently cross the Pacific to visit. President Oscar Arias met with Chinese leader Hu Jintao in Beijing in October, and he has invited Hu to Costa Rica, the only Central American country with diplomatic relations with China.

The relationship, however, has not come without a price. To cozy up to the Communist giant, Costa Rica had to break up with Taiwan, the breakaway island democracy off the southeastern Chinese coast not recognized by Beijing. The relationship with China, a one-party state that oppresses political opposition, also threatens Costa Rica’s standing as a standard-bearer for human rights.

 

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