PANAMA CITY, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Panama could be a strategic bridge to extend China's Belt and Road Initiative to Latin America, said Francisco Carlo Escobar, the Panamanian ambassador to China appointed after the two countries established diplomatic ties in June.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Escobar, who recently presented his credentials to Chinese President Xi Jinping, said that Panama is highly interested in this initiative, which seeks to create a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.
"Panama can be (a strategic place) ... for logistical distribution and perhaps to present certain infrastructure projects which could help the Belt and Road Initiative in the region," he said.
Escobar listed Panama's several advantages to promote the initiative including its geographic position, an interoceanic canal, distribution centers in the Colon Free Trade Zone on the Caribbean, and the favorable laws it offers to multinationals.
Escobar noted that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has already operated in Panama as a regional base, saying he is confident that other Chinese companies will follow suit.
The Belt and Road Initiative, put forward by Xi in 2013, is aimed at building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road through concerted efforts of all related countries to benefit all participants by promoting unimpeded trade, financial integration, infrastructure inter-connectivity and closer people-to-people exchanges.
Talking about the on-going visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Panama, the ambassador said the arrangement testifies to mutual interest in boosting diplomatic ties and political consultations between Panama and China.
According to the ambassador, Panama will discuss with the Chinese side the construction of Panama's several important projects including the expansion of Tocumen International Airport and ports in the province of Colon.
Panama also looks forward to consultations with China on cooperation in immigration and tourism, he said.
"We are confident and are looking forward to the future development of relationship between the two countries," said Escobar.