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China irked over Costa Rican Presidential candidate's plan to name stadium after Dalai Lama

January 24, 2010

January 22, 2010

Dharamsala, January 22 -- China has objected to a
pledge by a Costa Rican presidential candidate to
name a stadium in the San Jose after Tibetan
spiritual leader Dalai Lama saying it "is not in
line with the common desires of the two
countries", reported the Indo Asian News Service.

Otton Solis, leader of the centre-left Citizen
Action Party, had said that he would name the
stadium after the exiled leader to highlight
Costa Rica's lack of economic dependence.
Reacting to Solis, the Chinese foreign ministry
said in a statement Thursday that the stadium
"represents the Chinese people's friendship with
Costa Ricans". China has contributed $83 million to build it.

The 35,000-capacity stadium will have offices for
32 sports federations, giant video screens, a
sports museum, a track-and-field course and rooms
for table tennis, fencing and chess.

Costa Rican authorities are planning to
inaugurate the stadium in February or March next
year with a soccer match between Costa Rica and
China, musical concert and other sports.

The stadium is one of the flagship projects
started after the resumption of diplomatic
relations between Costa Rica and China in June 2007.

The Tibetan leader has twice visited Costa Rica
where the 1989 Nobel peace laureate is respected
and admired. The Tibetan leader is also a close
friend of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias
Sanchez, also a Nobel peace laureate (1987). The
Tibetan leader during his last trip to the
country in 2004 met with Oscar (then former
president, he was the president from 1986 to
1990) who was reelected as president in the 2006.
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