Xi makes promising visit to Panama as ties move forward

Author:AN BAIJIE/ZHOU JINSource:chinadailyRelease time:2018-12-04

President Xi Jinping (L) holds talks with his Panamanian counterpart Juan Carlos Varela in Panama City, Panama, on Dec 3, 2018.

President Xi Jinping arrived in Panama on Sunday for a state visit, the first by a Chinese head of state to the Central American country.

Upon his arrival, Xi said that since the two countries established diplomatic relations in June of last year, their ties have been strong and cooperation in various fields has yielded fruitful results.

The forging of diplomatic ties conforms to the interests of the two countries and peoples, and there is huge potential for bilateral cooperation, he said.

Xi added that he expected talks with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela to draw a blueprint for the development of bilateral relations in the long run, boost mutually beneficial cooperation and promote common development to benefit the two countries.

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, were warmly received by Varela and his wife, Lorena Castillo de Varela, with a grand welcoming ceremony.

Chinese Ambassador to Panama Wei Qiang said that during the visit the two nations were expected to sign a series of cooperation documents covering such areas as e-commerce, services, trade, infrastructure, financing and education.

Regarding the development of bilateral ties over the past 18 months, Wei said the relationship has been moving forward "like a really good and solid high-speed train, not only fast but also steady".

The two heads of state have played a key guiding role by steering the relationship onto a path of fast and steady progress, the ambassador said.

On the basis of the one-China policy, the two sides have been expanding cooperation in a spirit of equality, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, which has benefited both, he added.

Bilateral cooperation is underpinned by the complementarity of the two economies, Wei said, adding that Panama, known for its unique location on one of the world's busiest trade routes, has become an important regional hub for logistics, finance and transportation by both air and sea.

Panama has signed a memorandum of understanding with China on cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, and it serves as a natural link between the initiative and Latin America, he said.

Xi arrived in Panama City after wrapping up a trip to Argentina, where he attended the 13th G20 Leaders' Summit and paid a state visit.