On Friday (yesterday), China gave Panama a feasibility study for the construction of a train line between the Panamanian capital and the border with Costa Rica, a work that illustrates the expansion of Beijing in Latin America.

“This study, without a doubt, opens the way for this great project for Panama”, said the president, Juan Carlos Varela, during the presentation of the study by the Chinese ambassador in Panama, Wei Qiang. “It is economically feasible because of the social profitability it represents for the Panamanian people, it is profitable and viable to build it”, the president added.

According to the project, the line would unite “Ciudad del Futuro”, 37 kilometers west of the Panamanian capital, with the town of David, about 50 kilometers from the border with Costa Rica. The study foresees 391 kilometers of journey with 22 stations, including 5 cargo stations, with an estimated investment of US$ 4.1 billion.

If the proposal is approved, the railway line will be completed in 6 years and will generate 6,000 jobs during construction and 2,900 jobs in the operation and maintenance of the project. The report carried out by the company China Railway Design Corporation indicates that these trains would be of 8 wagons with a capacity of 700 passengers and could make the full journey in 2 and a half hours.

Varela and Ambassador Wei said that the project is part of the “silk route” of the 21st century, a term used by Beijing to define its policy of global expansion through infrastructure works. The Panamanian leader said there are talks underway to get the train to Costa Rica.

China and Panama “are convinced of the goodness of the connection, of union, communication and openness as an engine of the world economy of our days”, said Ambassador Wei. Both countries established diplomatic relations in 2017, after Panama broke with Taiwan.

China wants Panama to become a point of logistic connection for the expansion of its trade, investment, and diplomacy in Latin America, while Panama expects a millionaire rain of Chinese investments in infrastructure. The Asian country is the 2nd user of the Panama Canal, after the United States, and the main origin of goods that are distributed on the continent through the Panamanian free zone of Colón, the largest in the region.

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