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  • First Lady Peng Liyuan, President Xi Jinping, President Juan Carlos Varela and First Lady Lorena Castillo at the Panama Canal in Panama, Dec. 3, 2018.

    First Lady Peng Liyuan, President Xi Jinping, President Juan Carlos Varela and First Lady Lorena Castillo at the Panama Canal in Panama, Dec. 3, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 28 March 2019

The Chinese presence in the Central American country seeks to develop win-win investments and projects.

China's ambassador to Panama Wei Qiang said Wednesday that his country will not play the "power game" that the United States could unleash due to its distrust and zeal over the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Central American country.

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The Chinese presence in Panama "has the best will and desires to build a win-win friendship and cooperation relationship," Wei said and clarified that China "has no interest in entering geopolitical games between great powers in search of hegemonic influence."

China and Panama signed some 30 cooperation agreements in 2018. Among them are the negotiation of a bilateral free trade agreement and a feasibility study for a bullet train, which will cost US$5 billion and connect Panama with Costa Rica.

"China intends only to build a bilateral relationship of mutual benefit and cooperation, without harming any third party’s traditional interests," the Chinese diplomat explained and stressed that "[the U.S.] concerns, apprehensions or misgivings have no justification."

"Panama receives code to export meat to China."

Last year the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alerted Panama to have its “eyes wide open” when it came to China because Chinese investments could harm its economy and population.

"We want to make sure that everyone has a very open eye on China's relations in this country and in the region," Pompeo told local television channel TVN and added that "in some parts of the world China has invested and left the countries in a worse situation," as reported by Panama Today.

In Sep. 7, 2018, President Donald Trump administration called the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires at Panama Roxanne Cabral to consultations in Washington in order to analyze the links between Panama and China, a country which is the main supplier of the Colon Free Zone and the world’s second-biggest user of the transoceanic canal.

Like Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, Panama recognized the Chinese "One-China policy" and severed its relations with Taiwan in 2018.

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