Nicaragua Gives China Rights to Build Alternative to Panama Canal; Columbia Accuses Nicaragua of Bribing International Court of Justice

Photo Credit: Danny Lehman/Corbis

Nicaragua has awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build an alternative to the Panama Canal, in a step that looks set to have profound geopolitical ramifications.

The president of the country’s national assembly, Rene Nuñez, announced the $40 billion project, which will reinforce Beijing’s growing influence on global trade and weaken US dominance over the key shipping route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans . . .

Two former Colombian officials recently accused China of influencing the international court of justice to secure the territorial waters that Nicaragua needs for the project.

In an op-ed piece for the magazine Semana, Noemí Sanín, a former Colombian foreign secretary, and Miguel Ceballos, a former vice-minister of justice, said a Chinese judge had settled in Nicaragua’s favour on a 13-year-old dispute over 75,000 square kilometres of sea.

They said this took place soon after Nicaraguan officials signed a memorandum of understanding last September with Wang Jing, the chairman of Xinwei Telecom and president of the newly established Hong Kong firm HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company, to build and operate the canal.

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