Did Varela and Pompeo speak about China?
Last week, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Following the meeting The New York Times published the article, "Mike Pompeo Warns Panama Against Doing Business With China". The article speaks to a statement by Pompeo, recounting his meeting with Varela and journalists. Pompeo responsed to questions by the press while boarding his plane last Thursday. Questions and responses were released by the U.S. State Department. In the Remarks to Traveling Press, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, says:
"We had the opportunity to speak with local media and reiterate to the entire region that when China comes knocking on the door, it is not always for the welfare of its citizens, and that when they come with direct investment, legitimate, that is transparent and according to the law, that is competition and it is something that the United States welcomes, but when they come up with proposals that are very good to be true, it is usual that this is the case."
But aside from his remarks while boarding his plane, it is unclear what, if anything was else said about China.
A statement issued by the presidency of Panama reports that both [ President Varela and State Secretary Pompeo] spoke on security, migration, drug trafficking, organized crime and "the situation in Venezuela and Nicaragua." but according to La Prensa’s article, "Mike Pompeo confirms he had a good conversation with Juan Carlos Varela about China", there was "not a single word in the statement was about China".
The ambassador of Panama in Washington, Emanuel González-Revilla reported in an interview with Telemetro, "at the meeting I was in, the issue of China was not discussed."
The associated press issued a statement asking the Presidency why it did not report on China in the statement, the Presidency has yet to respond.