China and Russia arе embarking on a big geopolitical and economic venture of laying in Nicaragua a rival to the USA brainchild, the Panama Canal.
This was disclosed to the “Voice of Russia” by Petr Yakovlev, the head of the Center for Iberian Studies, Institute of Latin America, Russian Academy of Sciences. The expert said that Russian companies are holding talks with Chinese partners on how to participate in this strategic project in Latin America.
The start of the construction is planned for December 2014. Longer time slots had been proposed earlier. It is possible that adjustments have been made following the probable participation of Russian companies in the project. Given the confidentiality of negotiations, Peter Yakovlev did not reveal the names of the Russian companies participating in them.
The role of Russian companies is still not defined very clearly, because this mega project is under the control of the Chinese side. Formally, it is led by a Hong Kong-based private company, but of course, everyone knows that behind her stands the Chinese state. For the time being, working negotiations with the Chinese side are being conducted on Russian participation in the laying of the channel. No official documents or commercial agreements have been signed. But considerable interest is being shown in this cooperation. After all, it is the largest infrastructure project in Latin America. The channel will certainly have great strategic importance .
China “staked” for this project in October 2013. Beijing held its first talks on laying the channel with the son of the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Even at that time, the experts pointed out that Beijing has thrown a major new challenge to the U.S. in Latin America by proposing an alternative to the US-controlled Panama Canal.
The Channel will reduce the cost and expand trade with regional suppliers of resources for Chinese industry, such as Venezuela, in the first place, and Brazil. Also, Argentina and Colombia. Navigation capabilities will be much more beneficial to China, given the fact that it will be the operator of the channel exploitation. Of course, this will be a strategically important object for China.
Talks by Russian companies on the possibility of participating in the Chinese project are being conducted against the background of a number of landmark agreements signed by Russia with Nicaragua. Nicaragua has allowed the Russian military ships and planes to visit the country during the first half of 2014. And also to patrol the territorial waters of Nicaragua in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean upto 30 June 2015. These agreements were signed with provisions for their extension.
Full article: Russia and China dig a channel vying with the Panama Canal (Voice of Russia)