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BEIJING – China rolled out the red carpet Friday for the second time this week for a Latin American leader whose country recently switched its allegiance from Taipei to Beijing.
President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic met with Chinese President Xi Jinping after a formal welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People.
The summit came one day after a similar ceremony and meeting for Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren.
Both El Salvador and the Dominican Republic broke their diplomatic ties with Taiwan earlier this year. They are among a number of countries that have established or resumed relations with China in recent years.
Beijing has been stepping up diplomatic and economic pressure on those that recognize Taiwan since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016.
Beijing's aggressiveness is largely driven by Tsai's refusal to endorse the "One-China" principle, which maintains that Taiwan is part of China and that the Communist Party-ruled administration in Beijing is China's sole legitimate government.
"When Tsai Ing-wen took office, she adopted unfriendly policies toward the mainland," said Cui Shoujun, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing. "Therefore, to some extent, the mainland believes that the time to set up ties with these countries is ripe. It is a kind of warning to Taiwan."
Only 17 mainly small, developing countries still recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation. Taiwan split from mainland China during a civil war in 1949. China considers the self-governing island to be part of its territory.
Cui said that establishing ties with China can bring economic benefits, noting that Xi has said Latin America is a natural extension of the maritime half of China's Belt and Road Initiative.