Panama Canal

China's Latin American charm offensive alarms U.S.

In this image, a dock worker at the Panama canal docks a huge shipping container that sits on the water.
A Panama Canal worker docks the Chinese container ship Cosco. Photo: Arnulfo Franco/AP

Beijing's construction ambitions in Latin America, a region that American leaders have seen as off-limits to other powers since the 19th century, is stirring alarm in Washington, the AP reports from Panama City.

The big picture: China's focus in Central America includes Panama, where the canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans makes it one of the world's busiest trade arteries, and strategically important both to Washington and Beijing.

Trump welcomes Panama's president to White House

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump welcomed Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela to the Oval Office Monday.

What Trump said: "The Panama Canal is doing quite well. I think we did a good job building it, right?" Trump added his friendship with Varela is "very good" and that they are "developing new things to do" in their talks today.

What Trump didn't say: Trump did not answer questions shouted at him about whether he is under investigation.