Panama City. President Xi Jinping said on Monday that facts have proved and will continue to prove that it’s absolutely right for China and Panama to establish diplomatic ties, which have brought real benefits for people of both sides.
Xi made his remarks while holding talks with his Panamanian counterpart, Juan Carlos Varela, in Panama City. Xi’s state visit to the Central American country is the first of its kind since the two countries established diplomatic relations in June 2017.
Witnessed by the two presidents, China and Panama signed a series of cooperation documents. The two leaders spoke highly of the cooperation outcomes achieved since the establishment of diplomatic relations and they reached lots of consensuses on promoting bilateral relations.
In the past one and half years, the presidents of the two countries have completed visiting each other, and the two sides have deepened political mutual trust, Xi said.
No matter how the international situation changes, China’s diplomatic policy of strengthening and developing relations with Panama will not be changed, Xi said, adding that China supports the efforts of the Panamanian government and people to safeguard national security and stability, improve the people’s livelihoods and improve the country’s influence on international affairs.
China would like to make joint efforts with Panama to keep strengthening high-level exchanges and enhance cooperation between the government bodies, legislative authorities and political parties of the two countries, Xi said.
He pointed out that China highly appreciates Panama’s support on issues related to China’s major and core interests, including Taiwan. China upholds the principle of no interference in other country’s internal affairs and respects Panama’s sovereignty over the Panama Canal, Xi said.
He proposed that China and Panama should enhance the connection of development strategies and promote cooperation in such areas as finance, tourism, logistics and infrastructure.
Mentioning that China is the second-largest user of the Panama Canal, Xi said that the two countries could streamline cargo transportation and make the canal play a bigger role in China’s global trade.
China would like to initiate free-trade negotiations with Panama on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefits, Xi said, adding that China welcomes Panama to export its products, including seafood, meat and pineapple to China.
The two countries should enhance people-to-people and local-to-local exchanges to facilitate people to travel, Xi said.
The two countries should enhance coordination on global affairs, jointly face the challenges of protectionism and unilateralism and better maintain the interests of developing countries, he added.
The Panamanian president welcomed Xi’s historic state visit, saying that the visit will definitely promote friendship of the people of both sides.
It’s good to see that the consensuses reached by the two presidents are being implemented, and that the two countries have carried out projects in infrastructure and people-to-people exchanges, he said.
Panama firmly upholds the one-China policy, he said, adding that Panama agrees with Xi’s important thoughts such as building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Panama supports the building of the Belt and Road, and it expects to enhance cooperation with China in investment, seaport transportation and free trade zone, he said, adding that Panama welcomes Chinese investors.
The Panamanian president said that Panama would like to negotiate with China a free-trade agreement as early as possible to promote trade between the two countries.
Panama-China cooperation will not only bring benefits for the people of both sides, but also contribute to global peace and prosperity, he said.