Taiwan's foreign minister visits Nicaragua

Taiwan's foreign minister visits Nicaragua

Managua (AFP) - Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin is in Managua for a visit to strengthen ties with Nicaragua, one of just a handful of nations with which it has diplomatic relations.

The Taiwan embassy said in a statement on Monday that upon arrival Lin laid flowers at a mausoleum housing the remains of Carlos Fonseca, founder of the Sandinista National Liberation Front.

Lin also visited a Managua park named in honor of Augusto Cesar Sandino, who gave his name to the revolutionary movement and the party which now rules Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is one of just 22 countries in the world that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan instead of China.

Since the two nations signed a free trade agreement in 2006, bilateral trade has grown from $47 million to $98 million in 2012.

Latin America, the South Pacific and Africa have been the main battlegrounds for China and Taiwan, which have accused each other of luring allies away with "checkbook diplomacy."