CHINESE Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Panama during the weekend for the unveiling ceremony of the Chinese Embassy marking a new chapter in bilateral relations.
Wang was welcomed in the presidential palace by President Juan Carlos Varela .The meeting marks the first visit of a Chinese foreign minister since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in June.
Over the past three months there has been a boost in bilateral relations.
In the run-up to the official ceremony scheduled for Sunday, China and Panama have signed business agreements estimated to generate about $38 million in trade and investment, which official said gives rise to great expectations in business between China and Central America.
“Panama is a gateway to the Americas, and we believe that many Chinese companies will be able to leverage Panama’s logistic infrastructure, as a hub to get products to the region, the same way the region can use Panama to get products to China. So this is just the beginning not only for the Panama but the region, a historic day,” said Augusto Arosemena, Panama’s Minister of -Commerce and Industry .
Wang Weihua, charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Panama, hoped that Panama’s pledge to adhere to the One China principle and to sever the so-called “diplomatic relations” with Taiwan could help clear the way for other countries in this region to also establish ties with China.
“Panama’s decision sets an example and sends a very clear message to other countries in Central America and the Caribbean, that little by little, the One China Principle is being recognized by the whole international community,” he said.
China and Panama have had significant commercial relations for decades and hope the newly-established diplomatic relationship will help boost trade and cooperation.
Chinese companies are already involved in dozens of infrastructure projects in Panama, such as the $700-million investment in the construction of a new deep-water container port in Isla Margarita near the Caribbean entrance to the Canal. Another project is the development Ciudad Esperanza including more than 2,000 housing units, a university, and government buildings, and two China-led consortia are bidding for the contract to build the $1 billion fourth bridge over the Canal.
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