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China wants Panama to be its gateway to Central America

IANS  |  Beijing 

on Tuesday said its Xi Jinping's visit to was a step forward to improve bilateral ties and turn the Latin American country into Beijing's gateway to

told reporters that Xi and his Panamanian counterpart, Juan Carlos Varela, on Monday reached broad agreements and achieved positive and productive results during their meeting at in City.

The said would give the Canal more importance in its trade as due to its strategic location, Panama could become the gateway and point of connection between and Central America, Efe news reported.

He also stressed that Xi's visit -- the first by a Chinese leader to Panama -- had led to bilateral cooperation in economy, tourism, logistics, infrastructure, education and health.

China, with whom Panama was negotiating a free trade treaty, already has an important presence in the Central American country.

It is the second largest user of the after the US, and the main supplier to Panama's Colon Free Trade Zone, the largest free port to the

Xi's visit to Panama after attending the summit in was part of China's plans to expand its influence in Latin America, a region which has historically been in Washington's sphere of influence.

Since June, when Panama broke diplomatic ties with and established relations with China, has increased its presence in the Central American country with its companies getting multi-million dollar contracts.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, December 04 2018. 18:44 IST