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Costa Rican President Makes First China Visit Since Cutting Taiwan Ties

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Chinese President Hu Jintao has welcomed his Costa Rican counterpart, Oscar Arias, to Beijing, on Mr. Arias' first visit to China since his country severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Mr. Arias Wednesday said that as a Costa Rican, he is honored to represent the first Central American country to establish a formal relationship with China.

The two leaders signed 11 agreements related to trade, banking, technology and culture.

In June, Costa Rica cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing, a move that China hopes other Latin American countries will follow.

Only 24 countries recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state. Taipei and Beijing have been trying to spread their wealth among those nations in an effort to earn or maintain their allegiance.

China and Taiwan split in 1949 following a civil war. China insists the self-governing island is part of its territory and tries to diplomatically isolate Taiwan from the rest of the world.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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