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Beijing Applauds Costa Rica's Decision to Recognize 'One China' Policy

China has called Costa Rica's decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing a "historical trend" and urged remaining countries with diplomatic ties to Taiwan to follow suit. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

China's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu welcomed Costa Rica's decision to recognize the "One China" policy that says Beijing is the only legitimate government of China.

She told reporters Costa Rica's dropping official relations with Taipei further backed-up Beijing's claim that Taiwan is a territory of China.

"More and more countries are establishing diplomatic relations with China. This also clearly shows the "One China" principle is the accepted common consensus among the international community," Jiang said.

China now has diplomatic relations with 169 countries while Taipei has ties with 24, most of them small, poor nations in Africa and South and Central America.

David Wang, a spokesman for Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says Taipei feels betrayed by Costa Rica's decision.

"The response by Costa Rica to Taiwan, they are vague and evasive answers. We do not believe that was the correct way to treat a traditional and old friend like Taiwan," Wang said.

Taiwan has steadily been losing the diplomatic battle to China's strong economy as countries have sought closer trade relations with the Asian giant.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias announced the switch to China Wednesday after nearly 60 years of relations with Taiwan. Mr. Arias indicated the change was due more to economic rather than political objectives.

China and Taiwan have been accused of using "dollar diplomacy," namely giving financial aid, in their tug of war to try to win diplomatic recognition. Jiang denied aid money was a factor.

China and Taiwan have fought to win diplomatic recognition since they split in 1949 after the Communists won a civil war.

Beijing maintains self-ruling, democratic Taiwan is a breakaway province of China and opposes any moves that portray Taiwan as being independent from China.

Visiting dignitaries meeting with Chinese leaders are asked to recite their allegiance to the "One China" principle.

Meanwhile, former President of Taiwan Lee Teng-hui visited Japan's controversial Yasukuni Shrine honoring Japan's war dead from World War Two, including convicted war criminals. Lee said the visit was to show respect for his elder brother, who died fighting for Japan when Taiwan was a Japanese colony, and had no political objective.

Nonetheless, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang condemned the visit. She said Beijing had already made strong representations to Tokyo.