Two Chinas Battle for Influence
Central American and Caribbean infrastructure is a beneficiary of the diplomatic tussle between China and Taiwan.
Ever since Costa Rica broke off relations with Taiwan in
June to establish ties with communist China, desperate
Taiwanese authorities have been scrambling to prevent further
defections. At an international conference held in August in
Tegucigalpa, the leaders of Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador,
Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic pledged
to back president Chen Shui-bian and his long-shot struggle to
win UN membership for Taiwan. It did not hurt that the
president reportedly vowed to invest $1 billion in
infrastructure, environmental and energy projects throughout
Taiwanese authorities insist that it is not all about money,
and people close to the government say the actual spend will
fall well short of $1 billion. But cold hard cash and the
promise of enormous new trading opportunities with China seems
to have beaten Costa Rica's long-cherished embrace of freedom
and democracy. According to Joseph Wu, Taiwan's top diplomat
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