Costa Rica 'proud' of ties with PRC

By Qiang Pen (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-10-25 09:48

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said he feels honored that his country is "the first Central American country to establish formal diplomatic ties with the great country of the People's Republic of China (PRC)".

Arias said this at a meeting with President Hu Jintao Wednesday.

On his first visit to China since Costa Rica severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in June, Arias reiterated that his country respects the one-China policy and is against Taiwan's move to get UN membership.

Taiwan's "referendum for UN membership is a dangerous step and is doomed to fail", he said.

Establishing diplomatic relations with the PRC has proved a right decision, he said, and is good for the healthy development of Costa Rica.

"We appreciate China's support very much and hope more Chinese companies will invest in Costa Rica," Arias said.

The establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Hu said, has turned a new leaf in bilateral relations. "It has set the course for the right direction and injected new energy."

Hu proposed strengthening bilateral ties on four fronts: exchange of government officials' visits, business and trade cooperation, collaboration within the framework of regional and international organizations, and cultural exchanges.

The two leaders oversaw the signing of eight agreements in areas such as investment, culture, healthcare and agriculture.

China is Costa Rica's biggest trading partner after the US. Last year Costa Rica exported $1 billion worth of goods to China, with its imports from China reaching $618 million. Arias is the first foreign leader Chinese officials met since the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that concluded earlier this week.

He arrived in China on Monday and is scheduled to meet top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao today.

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