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Future Chinese Ambassador Pledges Funds for Flood Relief

In his first public appearance before the Costa Rican media since his arrival in the country last week, future Chinese ambassador to Costa Rica Wang Xiaoyuan Monday pledged a donation of $30,000 to help repair the damage done by a tornado that ripped through several southern neighborhoods of San José.

Otherwise, however,Wang remained very circumspect as he carefully neither confirmed nor denied any of the rumors swirling about China’s future involvement with Costa Rica.

One of the big questions is whether China will pick up the tab for the $70 million in donations and financing Taiwan pulled from the country after Costa Rica switched diplomatic recognition to China (TT, June 15).

Wang said a team of Chinese experts would be visiting Costa Rica to explore possibilities for “cooperation,” and that “it could well be that (the cooperation) will be those works left half-done by Taiwan.”

He responded similarly to questions about the possibility of a Chinese purchase of Costa Rican bonds, stating that it was an issue that “we will leave for the later study of Chinese financial institutions.”

Likewise,Wang said Costa Rican and Chinese officials hadn’t yet discussed the possibility of changing the status of Chinese visas to facilitate easier entry into the country, although he did hint that Costa Rica might join Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile and Peru as an official destination for Chinese tourists.

Also on Monday,Wang presented his diplomatic credentials to Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno. At the moment,Wang’s official title is attaché in charge of trade relations. The Costa Rican Foreign Ministry has affirmed that he will eventually be named the new ambassador.

Wang is a career diplomat with experience in several Latin American countries.

Most recently, he was the Chinese ambassador to Uruguay.

Wang said there are 11 officials in the Chinese delegation to Costa Rica. He added that he is getting to know San José and looking at different neighborhoods, but has yet to decide on the location of the new Chinese Embassy.



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