Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that China welcomes Panama's decision to establish diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Wang made the remarks at a press conference with his Panamanian counterpart Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado in Beijing on Tuesday, after signing a joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations.
"Chinese government and Chinese people welcome Panama's decision to establish diplomatic relations with China," said Wang. "Panama is an important country in Latin America. Chinese people always treasure the friendship with the Panamanian people."
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Panama’s Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel Saint Malo sign agreements as Panama and China established formal diplomatic ties in Beijing, China, June 13, 2017. /Xinhua Photo
According to the communique, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Panama, in keeping with the interests and desire of the two peoples, have decided to recognize each other and establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level effective from the date of signature of this communique.
The communique also says that the government of the Republic of Panama recognizes that there is one China in the world, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. The government of the Republic of Panama severs "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan as of this day and undertakes not to have any more official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan, it adds.
Establishment of diplomatic ties 'stands to sense'
A woman walks next to Panama flags a day before the inauguration of the Panama Canal Expansion project, in Panama City, Panama June 25, 2016. /VCG Photo
With the growing economic ties between China and Panama, the establishment of diplomatic relations is something that "stands to sense", said Zhang Wensheng, a scholar from Taiwan Research Institute of Xiamen University.
Zhang also said that Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen's refusal to recognize the "1992 Consensus" which basically upholds the "One China" principle has made the "road for Taiwan narrower and narrower".
The lack of diplomatic relations and trade protection agreements between China and Panama hampered Chinese investment into Panama, according to Wang Weihua, Chinese representative for Panama-China Trade Development Office.
"Panama launched an infrastructure construction plan worth of nearly 20 billion US dollars in recent years. It's a good opportunity for Chinese companies while at the same time, China's advantage in infrastructure construction is exactly what Panama needs," Wang said in an interview with Global Times.
A basic introduction of Panama. /CGTN Photo
Located in Central America, Panama borders both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This strategic geographical position, together with the Panama Canal, makes Panama a global aviation and maritime hub.
By 2000, Panama controlled the Panama Canal which connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to the North of the Pacific Ocean.
The Panama Canal. /VCG Photo
China is the second-largest client of the Panama Canal and the leading provider of merchandise to a free-commerce zone in the Caribbean city of Colon.