China's president visits Panama to strengthen fledgling alliance

Juan Carlos Varela and Xi Jinping signed various agreements.
Juan Carlos Varela and Xi Jinping signed various agreements. | Contributed photo

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Panama this week to strengthen his country's economic and political influence in Latin America.

In the first state visit by a Chinese leader to the Central American country following the establishment of its diplomatic relations in June 2017, Xi and Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela on Monday signed various cooperation agreements on banking, infrastructure, tourism and trade.

Xi said in the Estrella de Panama that he had "high expectations" for the visit. 

"We must be cooperative partners of mutual benefit and shared profits," Xi said.

Together, the two presidents have visited the Panama Canal’s new Cocoli Locks. Beijing envisions that Panama can be a logistics hub for the further development of trade in Latin America and the Caribbean. China is second to the United States in Panama Canal use.

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