He made the remark when he and his Panamanian counterpart, Juan Carlos Varela, met with a group of entrepreneurs from the two countries who were in Panama City for a China-Panama business forum. Xi said the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Panama has opened up broader prospects for cooperation in various fields and encourages Chinese enterprises to do business in Panama.
Xi also called on entrepreneurs from both countries to shoulder their social responsibilities, help promote friendship and create a better future for China and Panama. Varela said the business circles of the two countries have long been connected through the Panama Canal, ports and the free trade zone in the city of Colon.
More Chinese enterprises are welcome to invest in Panama and use the country as a base for expanding business in Latin America to facilitate the development of Panama－as well as the wider region－and achieve win-win results, Varela said.
During a meeting on Monday with Yanibel Abrego, president of the National Assembly of Panama, Xi said the two countries' legislative bodies should play a constructive role in developing relations.
Xi said he appreciated the support of Abrego and the National Assembly for establishing diplomatic ties with China, as well as of the creation of a parliamentary group to promote bilateral friendship. China is ready to join hands with Panama's legislature, political parties and people from all walks of life to push forward the two countries' friendship and cooperation, he said.
He also expressed hope that the National People's Congress of China and the National Assembly of Panama, as well as its China friendship group, will carry out exchanges. The 280,000 people of Chinese heritage who live in Panama can help firm up the public foundation for developing the two countries' relations in the long run, Xi said.
Abrego said establishing diplomatic ties with China is a consensus endorsed by all political parties in Panama, and has opened up bright prospects for bilateral cooperation. She added that Xi's visit is of great importance to further consolidating the two countries' relations. On Monday, Xi also visited the new locks at the Panama Canal, where he communicated with the captain and crew of a Chinese container ship waiting to go through the first stage.
After learning about the crew's working and living conditions, Xi said he was pleased to make the call. He said he hoped they would make good use of the canal and continue to optimize logistics and transportation to make greater contributions to China's shipping industry and the prosperity of global trade.
The president then clicked a button on a computer to open the lock and the ship slowly passed through. The ship, owned by China COSCO Shipping Co, sailed from Qingdao, Shandong province, on Oct 1, and visited three ports after passing through the Panama Canal. It is now on its return voyage.
This article was originally published in China Daily.