China and Costa Rica have pledged to strengthening cooperation in trade, investment and exchanges in other areas. During a meeting between the Chinese state advisor, Yang Jiechi and Costa Rica foreign minister, Manuel Gonzalez, the two parties expressed their wish to increase mutual political confidence and cooperation in international and regional affairs.
In the meeting, the foreign ministers decided to put behind them the failed project between Costa Rican Oil Refinery (Recope) and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC, its acronym in English) refinery owned by both companies and agreed that this is “an isolated issue” in bilateral relations.
In a statement to the press Monday from Beijing, Gonzalez stressed the issue (of the business relationship) “should be resolved by the partner companies, being a corporate matter, which does not affect the excellent relations between of both peoples and governments.” So, it is up to Recope and CNPC to resolve their issues in the Soresco project announced with great fanfare in 2008 and legally constituted in 2009. The US$1.5 billion dollar project started in 2009, and during the last year of the second administration of Oscar Arias (2006-2010), didn’t manage to refine one barrel of oil. In the past six-year (to 2015), more than US$30 million dollars have been spent on salaries and studies, and on April 14 last, in a hearing before a Legislative Commission, RECOPE president Sara Salazar announced the state’s decision to back out of the deal.
The meeting was not all about black gold.
Next June, the two countries celebrate a decade of bilateral relations, the meeting in China could be seen as a pre-celebration and signed the Joint Action Plan agreement for China-Costa Rica Cooperation 2016-2020 that establishes the actions of cooperation in education, trade, politics, agriculture, technology and communication, among other sectors.
Discussed was also the progress of the expansion project of the Ruta 32 (San Jose – Limon) by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC). The expansion of this important road will be funded by way of a Chinese loan of US$395 million and US$70 million by the Costa Rica government.
The ministers also agreed to promote higher level meeting in the context of the UN General Assembly in New York of Next September.
In that framework, Costa Rica is looking for China’s support in the selection of Costa Rica’s Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica to the general secretariat of the United Nations. Figueres accompanied Foreign Minister Gonzalez on the China trip.
Source La Nacion, Ministery of Foreign Relations (Cancilleria)