Taiwan applauded the expansion of the Panama Canal, a project that was approved on Monday through a referendum in Panama, foreign minsitry officials said yesterday.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Spokesman David Wang (王建業) said President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Foreign Affairs Minister James Huang (黃志芳) had offered their congratulations to Panamanian President Martin Torrijos and First Vice President Arturo Ulises as soon as they learned the outcome of the referendum.
"The Taiwanese government is optimistic about the expansion project, which will be beneficial to global shipping," Wang said.
"Panama is an important ally of Taiwan in Central America," Wang said. "This modernization plan contains a host of business and employment opportunities, which will not only help Panama and Taiwan's commercial affairs, but also further consolidate friendship between the two countries."
On Sunday, Panama held a referendum over whether to expand the Panama Canal, a US$5.2 billion project aimed at revitalizing the 92-year-old waterway.
About 78 percent of voters voted "yes" in the canal-expansion referendum.