China’s charm offensive at work again as it continues to win favour with the soft power of financial incentives. The fact that they have been regularly rebuilding government buildings and infrastructure to reward its friends is not new. Surely a continued strategic move to expand its own sphere of influence overseas (Africa and South East Asia in particular, and now Central America), I think a 35,000 seater national stadium is a first. The two countries first established diplomatic ties in 2007, and it is noteworthy one two counts. First, that all this transpired so quickly in just four years. Second, that alignment has been made with a country that consistently scores top marks as the Happy Planet Index (3rd), for human development, and environmental consciousness; a far cry from its other ‘friends’ most would deem as ‘rogue states’.
And the Chinese media report – ‘Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla… said the newly built National Stadium donated by China will be a “permanent monument of friendship” between the two nations…
The National Stadium will be a permanent monument of friendship between the people of both countries and it will be a permanent symbol of improvement for the Costa Rican people, inspired by the values of the Chinese culture...’
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Costa Rican football fans celebrate opening of stadium built by China
National team plays out 0-0 draw with Argentina at rebuilt, state-of-the-art Estadio Nacional stadium
Seth Freedman in San Jose
Source – Guardian, published 30 March 2011
Thousands of Costan Rican fans turned out for the reopening of a state-of-the-art football stadium donated by the Chinese government.
Around the Estadio Nacional stadium’s perimeter, laser beams lit up the night sky, acrobats hurled themselves through the air and PAs blared dance music to create a carnival atmosphere in the Sabana neighbourhood of the capital, San José.
Inside the national team played out a goalless draw with Argentina, for whom Lionel Messi was a late withdrawal through injury. Read the rest of this entry »