President Oscar Arias announced Wednesday that Costa Rica has broken diplomatic ties with Taiwan after nearly 60 years and established relations with China.
In a decision that could badly hit Taiwan's fragile international standing, Arias said Costa Rica needed to strengthen ties with China to attract foreign investment.
Since splitting amid civil war in 1949, Taiwan and China have fought to win the diplomatic allegiance of countries around the world. China refuses to have diplomatic ties with nations that recognize Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province it plans to eventually reunify with the mainland.
"Taiwan has been very generous and I thank it for the solidarity and co-operation it has shown for nearly 60 years, but I have taken this decision thinking of all the Costa Ricans," Arias said at a news conference.