China showers El Salvador with buildings and infrastructure after switch of allegiance from Taiwan

Beijing has cemented its new relationship with El Salvador by promising to donate a national stadium, a national library, two water supply projects and two urban renovation projects.

The largesse comes after the Central American state’s new president, Nayib Bukele, ratified his predecessor’s decision to recognise China instead of Taiwan after he took office in June.

The infrastructure package was announced during his visit to China on Tuesday.

Bukele held talks with President Xi Jinping, after which he tweeted that Xi had "just granted El Salvador a gigantic non-refundable deal, managed entirely by our government".

He said the national library would be a multistorey glass building, built on the site of the present facility, and would become one of the best in Latin America.

The water projects will take the form of a purification plant that aims to end the present water shortage in Salvador and the renovation of the drinking water and sewage treatment systems of the Surf City tourist resort.

The president added that nine other cooperation agreements were signed in agriculture, culture, sports, commerce and technical assistance, as well as a plan to attract Chinese tourists to the Central American state.

El Salvador’s switch from Taiwan to Beijing occurred in August last year under the regime of Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a move that prompted Washington to recall its ambassador.

Bukele said during his presidential campaign that he would review this decision and after he was elected he issued a tweet saying "China does not respect the rules of commerce, manipulates its currency and meddles into other countries’ democracies".

But once in office Bukele reversed this position.

Yesterday, Bukele hit back at criticism that El Salvador was being lured into a "debt trap" by asking the rhetorical question, "what part of ‘non-refundable’ did they not understand?"

Image: The meeting in Beijing (Casa Presidencial, via Twitter)

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