January 21, 2021

Pompeo calls on Panama to have "wide-eyed" eyes on China's investments

Pompeo calls on Panama to have "wide-eyed" eyes on China's investments



The Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo, returned today to launch criticism of China and warned Panama and the countries of the region to have "wide eyes" regarding the investments of the Asian giant so that they do not end up harming their economies and the population.

In an interview with local television channel TVN, Pompeo said that the US he wants positive things for Panama and the region, "but we want to make sure that when countries make investments (with other countries), including China, they do so in a way that is consistent with international laws that are positive for the Panamanian people."

He added that they have seen instances where this has been the case, but that on some occasions "China has not behaved accordingly".

In that sense, the senior US official remarked that "we want to make sure that everyone has a very open eye on China's relations in this country and in the region"

Pompeo explained that the warning about opening the eyes is that "in some parts of the world China has invested and left the countries in a worse situation, and this should never happen"

Therefore, he insisted that every time there is investment from abroad, it should be something profitable for the investor, but it should also be positive for the country that receives that investment.

On September 7, the United States called for consultations with the business manager in Panama, Roxanne Cabral, for the links established more than a year ago with China, which is the main supplier of the Panamanian Colon Free Zone (ZCL), the of the continent, and the second user of the Interoceanic Canal.

Panama and China have signed in the last year about thirty cooperation agreements, including one for the study of whether a bullet train between the Panamanian capital and the border with Costa Rica would be viable, with a cost of about 5,000 million dollars. dollars, and now they negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA).

In addition to Cabral, the ambassadors in the Dominican Republic, Robin Bernstein, and in El Salvador, Jean Manes, who established diplomatic relations with China in May and August, respectively, were called to consultations by the Donald Trump government.

Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic are members of the Central American Integration System (SICA), to which Costa Rica, the first country in the region to establish ties with China, also belongs in 2007

Pompeo arrived today in Panama on a private flight and had a brief meeting in the afternoon at Palacio las Garzas, headquarters of the Presidency, with the country's president, Juan Carlos Varela, and the vice president and chancellor, Isabel De Saint Malo.

After his meeting with Varela, Pompeo traveled to Mexico, where he will be received on Friday by the outgoing president, Enrique Peña Nieto, and his chancellor, Luis Videgaray.

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