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Costa Rican president hails ties with China
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12:59, November 12, 2008

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Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez has praised his country's relations with China, saying the upcoming visit to Costa Rica by President Hu Jintao would be "historic."

The visit is of great "importance" as the two countries have great potentials to further enhance their bilateral ties, Aria told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Forging diplomatic ties with China was a decision of "political realism," Aria said.

China offered 20 million U.S. dollars in aid for more than 3,000 victims of the flooding disaster in Costa Rica in 2007, the year when the two countries established diplomatic ties, Arias said.

From then on, China has impressed Costa Rica with its generosity, including a new national stadium it offered to built in San Jose.

The establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries has ushered in a flourish in their bilateral economic, cultural, technological and commercial exchanges.

In October that year, Arias toured China, the first ever official visit by a Costa Rican president, and signed many important cooperation agreements.

Led by rapid growth in trade with China, Costa Rica's trade with Asia registered a strong surge in the following years.

According to the Chinese Commerce Ministry, Costa Rica's export to Asia reached 1.552 billion dollars in the first seven months of2008, with Costa Rica's export to China reaching 1.223 billion dollars.

By contrast, its export to Asia was only 30.1 million dollars in 2000.

Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Trade Marco Vinicio Ruiz told Xinhua that this year has been very important for trade between both countries, and China has become the second largest trading partner of Costa Rica, second only to the United States.

During the past 18 months, said Ruiz, "we has opened a commercial office in Beijing, we have developed a promotion program of the Costa Rican and Chinese businessmen" and the two sides will continue seeking ways to diversify their cooperation, he added.

The two countries also saw a lot of exchanges in education and China has offered scholarships for Costa Rican students to study in China.

In addition, China has planned to open a Confucius Institute at the University of Costa Rica to offer Costa Rican people an easy access to the Chinese culture.

In the financial sector, various agreements have been signed between the Costa Rican banks and many prestigious Chinese monetary entities, such as the Bank of China.

Source: Xinhua

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