Global Times recently reported that the Congress of Nicaragua passed a proposal to allow the government to award an exclusive commercial contract to the Hong Kong headquartered HKND Group to construct the Nicaragua Canal. The Nicaragua Canal Project is to build the world’s largest and deepest inter-oceanic canal. It will compete head to head against the Panama Canal. Western media, such as Time Magazine, questioned whether China’s motivation behind the bid had geo-political considerations. The US$40 billion agreement with the Chinese company included fifty years of special operational rights which can be extended for another fifty years. Spanish media also suggested that the lack of transparency in the congressional vote as well as the impact of environmental damage are all issues that may require further discussion. The chairman of the 10-month-old HKND Group claimed the company had "rich experience" in developing and managing large infrastructure-building projects. Reuters suggested that China has a "strong enough economy" to invest into modernized ocean based transportation opportunities and that it’s about time. Time Magazine also commented that China has been expanding its influence in the U.S. backyard for some time now. However, Nicaragua is still one of the very few countries that maintains an official relationship with Taiwan.
Source: Global Times, June 15, 2013