Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, February 11, 2006

China Still Seeking Panama Air Field

Plans for the sale of the closed Howard Air Force Base in Panama are stalled, so China's bid to purchase the base is on hold for at least another two months, according to Business News/Americas.

Bidding against China on Howard and a connected multi-modal port contract are companies from the US, UK, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Spain and the Netherlands.

The most recent report makes it seem less likely that Howard would remain as an operational air base:
Plans include ... taking advantage of the installations at Howard, converting the air force base into a multi-modal port base.

Howard project planners aim to develop 5,000 acres (2,000ha) of land, making use of the nearby Panama Canal and railway lines to give shippers access to more than 120 million people throughout Latin America. Plans include forming a "one-stop shop agency" to simplify the customs process and expedite imports and exports.
With Howard just 3,707 acres in size, this makes it seem the whole base and the adjoining rail facilities will become port facilities -- but that's not true.

A Consulate of Panama in London Web site states the following:
Studies also indicate that Howard is a potential site for a multimodal transport centre due to existing infrastructure, such as an airport with a landing strip of approximately 2,591 meters, large enough to handle international cargo planes.
As mentioned before in CS-M, China currently operates the ports on both sides of the canal and is best chums with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and is cozying up to left-leaning governments throughout the region. Now, in just a couple more months, they could be the proud owners of an air base smack dab in the middle of the Western Hemisphere.

See also:
Panama Still Mum on Howard AFB
State Watchful On Howard AFB Sale
Howard Still Under The Radar
China Could Use Howard As Air Force Base
State Clueless On China's Plan To Bid On Panamanian Air Base
More On Commies At The Canal
China's Panama Grab Threatens US