Photo Credit: The Daily Signal
In a speech at the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation in March, President- Elect Nayib Bukele told an American audience that he would support neither Nicaragua’s head of state Daniel Ortega nor Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, which his predecessor Salvador Sánchez Cerén had publicly endorsed. Importantly, Bukele stated that China was “not a democracy” and “intervenes” in the democracies of other nations. He said that he would want El Salvador and China to maintain friendly relations, based not on “money or investment, but respect”. He also said that “They develop projects that are not feasible, leaving countries with huge debt that cannot be paid back and use that as financial leverage.” In response to President-Elect Bukele, the Chinese embassy in El Salvador issued a statement saying cooperation between the two countries would not be a “debt trap but instead a sweet deal for both nations.” In 2018 El Salvador broke ties with Taiwan to establish relations with China, following the Dominican Republic and Panama. China later offered El Salvador about US$150m for social projects and 3,000 tons of rice to feed thousands of Salvadorans struck by a drought.
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