President Carlos Alvarado last week confirmed he has been invited to China, and that Costa Rica has in turn extended an offer for President Xi Jinping to visit the Central American country.
“An invitation has been extended for me to visit the People’s Republic of China at some point, and we have invited President Xi Jinping in the framework, particularly, of the inauguration of Route 32, to share that milestone,” Alvarado said.
During the same press conference, Alvarado spoke about the importance of Costa Rica’s diplomatic relations with both China and the United States.
“Our relation is with each of those countries fraternal, respectful and of cooperation — with China and the United States — despite the differences those countries may have in various spheres in the global context,” Alvarado said.
The Costa Rican leader highlighted that the United States and China have both offered support during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The U.S. has donated laboratory equipment and medical supplies, while Costa Rican health authorities have conferenced with their Chinese counterparts on COVID-19 treatment strategies.
“Costa Rica is a country that manages its own relations,” Alvarado said. “Those relations with both countries are operated with the best interests of Costa Ricans.”
Over recent years, the U.S. has issued a number of statements warning Costa Rica about Chinese influence. Perhaps the most direct remarks occurred in January, during a visit from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The U.S., Pompeo said, “approaches our economic relationship in the spirit of partnership.”
“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,” the U.S. Secretary of State argued.
The Chinese Embassy in Costa Rica said Pompeo had “issued erroneous remarks.”
“Mr. Pompeo, during his short visit to Costa Rica, following his usual style of speaking irresponsibly, criticized arbitrarily and without any basis,” the Chinese Embassy said.
Costa Rica established diplomatic ties with China in 2007, severing its ties with Taiwan.