China and Panama are working together to continue to develop mutual ties, with a number of projects in the pipeline, including building a cruise ship terminal in order to expand political and economic cooperation.
A Chinese company has started construction on a $165 million port in Panama for cruise ships, the first project announced since diplomatic ties were re-established between the two countries in June.
A consortium, including China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) and the Belgian company Jan de Nul, will build a cruise terminal on Perico Island near the entrance of the Panama Canal. The project on Perico Island is a major step in developing relations between China and Panama.
The project is expected to turn the island into a tourist destination. Experts suggest that other Chinese tourist, hotel and restaurant companies will start operating in the region, following CHEC.
Relations between China and Panama have a long a history and common roots. Political ties are very important for economic cooperation. Moreover, the Panama Canal determines Panama’s geopolitical and geo-economic status. It has been actively used by Chinese ships, and its role in bilateral relations is going to increase.
Trade with China and its infrastructure projects will have a strong stimulating effect on the Economy of Panama. This cooperation looks very promising. Chinese companies already tried expanding their presence in the region several years ago, during the modernization of the Panama Canal. At the time, they faced fierce resistance from the United States.
The diplomatic steps we made are bringing very precise benefits to the people of Panama with projects like this where Chinese companies are participating with efficient costs. Panama’s decision to attract Chinese money is logical and also indicates a major shift in the foreign policy of the Latin American nation.
Relations between the USA and Panama have soured over a corruption scandal involving the Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht. Washington’s economic-hegemony is deteriorating fast in the world.
According to the US Department of Justice, the company paid $59 million in bribes to Panamanian authorities between 2009 and 2014, in exchange for advantageous contracts in the Central American country.
In this situation, there is no surprise that Panama needs political support from China. The re-establishment of diplomatic ties and the following economic cooperation could be interpreted as Beijing’s rejection of Washington’s meddling in the domestic affairs of Latin American countries.
Sputnik / AA Magnum Analyst Blog News Site 2017.