Taiwan careful after Costa Rica breaks ties

Taiwan is taking "extreme precautions" to hold onto allies in Central America after Costa Rica switched its diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, the Taiwanese foreign minister said Thursday. Foreign Minister James Huang, who said he had offered his resignation over losing Costa Rica's allegiance, said he had ordered embassies in that region to exercise intense vigilance over attempts by rival China to woo more diplomatic allies. Huang's comments came just hours after Costa Rican President Oscar Arias announced that the Latin American country had broken diplomatic ties with Taiwan after nearly 60 years and established relations with China instead. The Costa Rican announcement sent shock waves through Taiwan, where fears are rife that others among the island's dwindling band of diplomatic allies could cast their lot with Beijing, further increasing its already substantial international isolation. Only 24 countries now recognize Taipei while some 170 have ties with Beijing.