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Chinese influence

Monday, January 23, 2017


Chinese diplomatic and commercial presence is likely to grow in Central America, in response to efforts by the United States to limit Beijing’s control over the South China Sea.

El Salvador and other countries must assess whether they should stick with Taiwan or switch, the China Post said last week, while Taiwanese president Tsai Ing visited Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

The three countries, along with El Salvador and Panama - have ties with Taiwan, while Costa Rica since 2011 has had diplomatic relations with China.

A significant Chinese presence in Central America could counterbalance alliances between the US and several countries, including Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan, which have rival claims over the South China Sea.

China claims most of the sea, a busy maritime route, with potential deposits of oil, gas and minerals.

Both the United States and China have armed forces in the area.