Global Insider: Central America Cultivates China While Recognizing Taiwan

Global Insider: Central America Cultivates China While Recognizing Taiwan

In a visit this month to Central America by Chinese President Xi Jinping, China extended a $900 million line of credit to Costa Rica, the only Central American country that recognizes Beijing and not Taipei as the government of China. In an email interview, Cynthia Watson, professor of security at the National War College of National Defense University, explained China’s expanding contacts in Central America, and why most Central American countries maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Her comments are personal analysis, not official U.S. government policy.

WPR: What have been China's recent efforts to expand ties with Central America, and what is the goal of such efforts?

Cynthia Watson: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been seeking to accomplish several goals around the world for the past 30 years, coincident with the period when relations opened between the government in Beijing and the capitals of many Latin American states. These goals include achieving access to energy and natural mineral reserves, moving steadily to oust Taiwan from its historical role in the region after 1949 and nurturing overall influence through building relationships in which China will be recognized as a great power.

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