During a press conference following Tuesday’s meeting with President Carlos Alvarado, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Costa Rica to consider the potential ramifications of a strong alliance with China.
“The United States approaches our economic relationship in the spirit of partnership,” Pompeo said. “That’s a stark contrast to the flashy promises from the Chinese government that have often produced only debt, dependency, and even the erosion of sovereignty from some nations.”
Costa Rica established diplomatic ties with China in 2007, severing its ties with Taiwan. The new alliance has resulted in Costa Rica’s new National Stadium — a gift from China — and a cooperation agreement as part of the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Pompeo added Tuesday that the U.S. will “continue to support” business growth in Costa Rica.
“Costa Rica has done good work and is being rewarded for that with good jobs for the Costa Rican people, and we will continue to support American business providing foreign direct investment into your country to help you grow and create prosperity for Costa Rica,” Pompeo said.
President Alvarado did not publicly respond to Pompeo’s comments on China.
The Chinese embassy in Costa Rica said Pompeo’s comments were “arbitrary and without grounds,” according to Reuters.
Following the joint press conference, Pompeo visited the Joint Operations Center (Base 2) at Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela.
The Secretary of State “reiterated the importance of Costa Rica as a U.S. partner in the fight against drug trafficking,” according to Casa Presidencial, and was shown helicopters and planes operated by Costa Rican authorities that were donated or purchased with financial support from the United States.
This story was updated at 9 a.m. on Jan. 22 with comments from the Chinese Embassy.