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| 2/15/2011 12:00:00 AM

China plans Colombian rail link to challenge Panama canal

A link between Cartagena in the Caribbean to an unspecified site on the country's Pacific coast would facilitate Chinese imports.

It is a dream that bewitched Spain, ruined Scotland, stumped France and empowered the US: a path from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.

The ambition unleashed ruinous follies in Panama's jungles until the US finally finished a canal in 1914, an engineering feat that transformed global trade.

Now, almost a century later, China is envisaging a new link between the seas: a rail link through Colombia – a potential rival to the canal that would crown China's economic push into Latin America.

Beijing on Monday confirmed an announcement by the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, that both governments are considering a rail connection from Cartagena, in the Caribbean, to the country's Pacific coast 280 miles (450km) away. The president's office refused to say which Pacific site was being considered.
 
Read more here.

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