Executive Intelligence Review


Panama’s President: We Did the Right Thing in Forging Ties with China

April 17, 2018 (EIRNS)—As Panama approaches the first anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with China, in June 2017, President Juan Carlos Varela is certain that his government “did the right thing” in taking that momentous step and is looking forward to Panama’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Speaking with Xinhua on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas April 13, in Lima, Peru, Varela said he is very satisfied with the way that bilateral relations have advanced since last June, with more than 20 agreements signed, which are already underway. A direct Beijing-Panama flight, expanded Chinese tourism in Panama, opening up the Embassy in Beijing and Consulate in Shanghai, reflect the progress in diplomatic relations, he emphasized.

Further, “Panama embraces that vision of the Belt and Road,” Varela said,

“because we are firm believers in connectivity; we [ourselves] are a great connection, because of our Canal, our ports and airports. We support every initiative that strengthens connectivity.”

He reported that the first Panamanian project to be built as part of the BRI, once feasibility studies are concluded, is the high-speed train from Panama City to the border with Costa Rica, which he said, “we hope can also expand to other Central American countries.”

The Panamanian President made special reference to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s April 10 speech at the Boao Forum for Asia, in which Xi discussed China’s plans for further opening up and moving toward a

“world without borders.... I think that President Xi’s message, that we live in a world where the inhabitants have the ability to develop greater trade, tourist and cultural exchange, and secure migration movements, is very positive,”

Varela said.