(Yicai Global) Nov. 20 -- Panama will fully support and participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, said Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela who was on a state visit to China last week.
As the first Panamanian President to visit China, Varela attaches great importance to connecting Panama's development strategy with the Belt and Road Initiative, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. Speaking at the Renmin University of China in Beijing on Nov. 18, Varela said he hopes to strengthen cooperation with China in the fields of maritime affairs, shipping, railways and logistics.
Varela is the first head of a Latin American state to visit China after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Varela said he would like to take advantage of Panama's unique geographical location to play an active role in extending the Belt and Road cooperation to Latin America. Panama's financial institutions are undertaking feasibility research on the Belt and Road projects, he added.
The Panama Canal is one of the most important waterways in the world. Panama's location offers a unique opportunity for the natural extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to Latin America.
China's minister of commerce Zhong Shan and Panama's minister of commerce and industry Augusto Arosemena formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on economy and trade cooperation in Beijing on Nov.17. The signing ceremony was witnessed by China's President Xi Jinping and Panamanian President Varela. China and Panama formally established diplomatic relations on June 13, 2017.