Fri, Nov 02, 2018 - Page 1 News List

China hosts El Salvador, Dominican leaders

AFP, BEIJING

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday greeted Salvadorean President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, pledging aid to the Central American country months after it switched allegiance from Taiwan to Beijing.

Xi is hosting Sanchez Ceren and the leader of another country that recently ditched Taiwan — Dominican President Danilo Medina — this week.

The Chinese leader welcomed Sanchez Ceren with a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, where a military band serenaded the two presidents with their respective national anthems.

The two countries then inked deals pledging to cooperate on development, including on Xi’s pet Belt and Road Initiative.

Beijing also promised aid for education, health and drought relief.

China “welcomes” more exports from El Salvador and would encourage more qualified Chinese companies to invest in Salvadorean industries, Xi said in a China Central Television report.

China is also willing to offer scholarships to Salvadorean students visiting China, and would encourage more Chinese tourists to travel to the Central American country, he added.

Sanchez Ceren told Xi he was “representing the Salvadorean people to show you how grateful we are and our satisfaction now that we have restored our diplomatic relations.”

El Salvador recognized Beijing in August, becoming the third country to abandon Taiwan this year, following the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso.

Medina will be hosted at the Great Hall of the People today.

He will also inaugurate the Dominican Republic’s embassy in Beijing during his visit.

Only 17 countries remain in Taiwan’s diplomatic circle as the nation struggles to fend off Beijing’s growing influence around the globe.

Taiwan and China have been engaged for years in a diplomatic tug-of-war in developing countries, with economic support and other aid often used as bargaining chips for diplomatic recognition.

Central America has been a key bastion for Taiwan, with Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Belize still recognizing Taipei rather than Beijing, which has used its economic muscle and promises of investment to entice governments.

Panama broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan last year.

The recent defections have irked the US, which recalled its envoys from El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Panama in September.

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