Long and fruitful partnership
Pandemic has shown that the everlasting friendship between China and Costa Rica is as stable as a mountain
For many Chinese, the mere mention of Costa Rica triggers memories of an impressive match between the national teams of the two countries at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Of course, the ties go much deeper.
Costa Rica is the first Central American country to establish diplomatic ties with China in the 21st century. The 13 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties have witnessed mutual state-level visits and frequent high-level exchanges. China and Costa Rica have built a win-win strategic partnership featuring equality, mutual trust and cooperation.
Trade and economic cooperation have been fruitful. The two countries have signed agreements on free trade, investment promotion and protection, and a memorandum of understanding to jointly promote the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Chinese-financed construction of the National Stadium in Costa Rica is a symbol of the solid friendship the two countries share. In recent years, high-quality Costa Rican agricultural products, including world-famous coffee and pineapples, have come into the Chinese market and China has become the largest export destination for Costa Rica's beef and pork.
The two sides share a long history of people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges. The first batch of Chinese traveled across the ocean to this beautiful land some 165 years ago. Since then, Chinese culture has been part of Costa Rica's multiethnic culture. In 2019 the "Day of Chinese Culture" has been officially written into law in Costa Rica, the first of such kind in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.
Earlier this year, the Chinese embassy joined hands with people from all walks of life in Costa Rica to hold various activities, attracting tens of thousands of locals and overseas Chinese to celebrate the Spring Festival. The "We speak Chinese" project is progressing well in 10 local schools. The Chinese language is also listed as one of Costa Rica's six languages in its bilingual promotion plan.
True friendship is strengthened by sharing weal and woe. Following the sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the two countries extended mutual support, setting an example for various other countries to jointly fight the global challenge.
China and Costa Rica also actively promote the building of a community of health and a community with a shared future for humankind. The Chinese government and its people will never forget the friendly Costa Rican people's sincere condolences when China was going through its most difficult phase in the fight against the virus and how the Central American country overcame its own difficulties to take the lead in providing assistance to China.
When the pandemic broke out in Costa Rica, China immediately lent a helping hand. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his counterpart Carlos Alvarado Quesada reached a consensus on China-Costa Rica ties and the fight against the pandemic during phone calls, outlining a blueprint for bilateral relations.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Affairs Rodolfo Solano Quiros wrote to each other and talked by phone, discussing how to better implement the state leaders' plans.
About 1 million pieces of anti-pandemic supplies donated by the Chinese government were sent to Costa Rica on three chartered flights. Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and the provinces of Jiangsu, Fujian, Anhui, Shandong and Guangdong, as well as some non-governmental organizations and local Chinese in Costa Rica supplied a lot of urgently needed materials to the local municipal governments, hospitals and other institutions.
The University of Costa Rica's medicine research and development project for treating COVID-19 patients, which was partially funded by China, has made significant progress.
China has three times invited Costa Rican experts to videoconferences allowing specialists from the two countries to share their respective experiences in fighting the virus, such as patient diagnosis and treatment, and isolation. Costa Rican experts have repeatedly said that China provided very valuable experience, helping save many lives.
The everlasting friendship between the two countries is as stable as the mountain and will not change. As President Xi said, Costa Rica is a trustworthy strategic partner of China. The Chinese side will continue to carry out its policy of promoting long-term friendly cooperation with Costa Rica, supporting the country's economic development, and improving the livelihoods of people there.
The two sides should continue to support each other's core interests and major concerns, draw up a joint plan for their bilateral cooperation after the pandemic and further advance their pragmatic cooperation in all areas under the Belt and Road Initiative framework. The China-Costa Rica relations are expected to make new progress in the future.
The author is the Chinese ambassador to Costa Rica. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
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