China's FM to visit Panama under new diplomatic ties

Panama City (AFP) –


Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi will visit Panama at the end of this week, according to officials -- three months after the countries established diplomatic ties at the expense of Taiwan.

Wang will lead a delegation aimed at "advancing the bilateral agenda of Panama and China," including on tourism exchanges, trade links and the maritime environment, the Central American nation's foreign ministry said in a statement.

He will meet with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela on Saturday.

Varela announced his country had opened diplomatic relations with China on June 12, upgrading ties previously focused only on trade.

That automatically ruptured diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province.

China is the second-biggest user of the Panama Canal after the United States.