By Carmen Rodriguez
The US government is disappointed in President Najib Bukele, its approach and its relationship with China, This was confirmed to Voice of Diaspora a spokesman for the Department of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs of the, in Washington.
"While El Salvador has the sovereign right to determine its diplomatic relations, We are disappointed that President Bukele has turned his back to Taiwan, a democracy-minded, valuable development partner and a force for good in the world, in exchange for promises that may not materialize ", spokesman.
In 2018 when the government of the Left Party, FMLN, Salvador Sanchez Ceren chaired by, broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan trade and to open the way to relations with China, The United States warned that this action would impact on relations with El Salvador.
Last week, during an official visit to China, President Bukele, He announced on his twitter account that the Chinese government will provide "non-refundable cooperation" for the Salvadoran government several development projects. further, the Central American leader insisted that it reached with China, It will not turn into debt.
"I see some opponents trying to attack the cooperation we have achieved giant China, claiming it is a "debt trap". What part of "non-refundable" did not understand? Not loan, but donation. And all construction will be in El Salvador ", tweeted Bukele.
Salvadoran President made a list of seven projects, in which the Chinese government will invest equity, but it did not detail the amount of money you receive El Salvador, nor the conditions under which will be delivered.
But nevertheless, The United States believes that China's intentions "are not always clear"; hence the main concern about the rapprochement between the government and the government of Bukele his counterpart Xin Jinping, although Bukele, said months before reaching the Salvadoran Presidential House that it would consider breaking relations with the Chinese government.
"What does China economically in the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere, It affects us all. China's intentions are not always clear, and Chinese projects often involve unsustainable debt, Environmental degradation, Local employment limited and secret contracts that limit democratic accountability and increase the vulnerability of countries to corruption ", spokesman said the US government.
A couple of days after the announcement of Bukele, at a conference in Washington, Acting Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak, He said the United States has warned some countries of "doing business based on Chinese models".
Kozak said, usually, China carries its own labor, which benefits only the Chinese government and also, other treaties between governments and the Chinese have not been transparent.
"We're not saying do not do business with China. We are saying do not do business based on Chinese models… We are saying that verify the processes and consider safety ", Kozak said Secretary.
According to the Department of State, the government of President Donald Trump, expected "reciprocity", from other countries, when doing business or maintaining diplomatic relations with China.
"President Trump made it clear in the National Security Strategy, the United States of America, It has adopted a new approach to China. We seek a relationship based on equality, reciprocity and respect for sovereignty. We encourage El Salvador to take the same approach, With wide open eyes", He said US spokesman.
Bukele against Bukele
Last October, Bukele perform before his trip to China, the US ambassador in El Salvador, Douglas Johnson, "He urged" the Salvadoran president to be cautious in its relationship with China. "We encourage El Salvador to exercise caution and with respect for their involvement with China, so as to avoid diplomatic pitfalls and debt. It is vital to seek alliances with a reliable partner ", He tweeted the US official.
The surprise for the United States has been the change in position of Bukele, with regard to relations with China; well, in March, during a speech at the American Heritage Foundation, Salvadoran President said that China "does not respect the rules of trade" and "is not playing low the rules."
"China does not respect the rules, they come with many projects that are not viable and leave countries with huge debts that can not be paid and use this as leverage. They manipulate their currency and then, They want to respect their currency ", said Bukele, in Washington in March.
Bukele also, He said during the presidential campaign that his government would prioritize relations with its biggest ally: U.S.
"Our priority will be the full and better relations with the United States, In the specific case of China, obviously we would have to review; one, What is the position to detail the Government of the United States, we know they are annoying, but we do not know what detail ", said Bukele.
Some political analysts believe that China's interest in Central America, It is not political, but commercial; well, from the Central American countries it is easier to transport goods to the East Coast or Pacific Coast US.