China President Xi Jinping travelled to Panama for a 24-hour visit during which he signed 19 agreements with his Panamanian counterpart, President Juan Carlos Varela, marking a consolidation of diplomatic and economic ties between Beijing and Panama City in spite of Washington’s attempts to dissuade Latin American and Caribbean countries from further rapprochement with China. Of note is an accord that would grant non-reimbursable aid to Panama for various projects, though the amount of aid has not been disclosed. Agreements were also reached on an extradition treaty, commerce, tourism and educational matters. Speaking at a press conference with the Chinese President, President Varela, stated that during a previous state visit to Beijing, he had been reassured that China’s economy was “like an ocean” in reference to the commercial opportunities that closer economic ties with China would provide Panama.
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