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Nicaragua has signed a US$430 million loan with China for the construction of an international airport and a liquefied gas terminal, officials said. The deal follows a phone call this week between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega. China and Nicaragua reestablished diplomatic relations in 2021 after Managua cut ties with Taiwan. Ortega’s adviser for investment, trade and international cooperation, his son Laureano Ortega Murillo, described the relationship with China as a “strategic partnership”. The funds will be used for the Punta Huete International Airport project and the Tres Esferas Project to build a gas terminal. “We are talking about mobilizing important resources for the country, more than $430 million,” Nicaraguan Minister of Finance and Public Credit Ivan Acosta said on Thursday. He described the yuan-denominated funds as “an important advantage for the country in the strategy of de-dollarization.” State-owned China CAMC Engineering will work on the reconstruction, expansion and improvement of the existing Punta Huete airstrip, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Managua, as well as the gas terminal. The new airport would allow greater connectivity with Asia, Europe and other regions, Acosta said on Channel 4 television. China and Nicaragua signed a Free Trade Agreement in August that will come into force on January 1. The two countries have accelerated their cooperation ties since reestablishing diplomatic ties in 2021. Beijing considers self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to seize it one day, by force if necessary. Of Central America, only Guatemala and Belize maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The last to change sides was Honduras, in March.

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