HK Billionaire Has No Intention To Control Canal

Friday, October 22, 1999
Tensions surrounding the turnover of the Panama Canal from U.S. to Panamanian authority are running high. Last week, Hong Kong-based billionaire Li Ka-Shing said he had no intention of taking control of the Panama Canal, as suggested by some U.S. lawmakers. Li was responding for the first time personally to charges by U.S. Senate Majority leader Trent Lott (R-Miss) that his company, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., could put a strangle-hold on the strategic waterway. "I have no intention to control the Panama Canal," Li said. "This is a joke but I don't want to attack anyone." The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee is expected soon to discuss the right of a Hutchison subsidiary to run two container ports at the Atlantic and Pacific entrances of the canal. The United States will hand over the Panama Canal to Panama on December 31, ending a 96-year military presence in the Central American country. In August, Lott wrote to U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, saying that "U.S. naval ships will be at the mercy of Chinese-controlled pilots and could even be denied passage through the canal by Hutchison, an arm of the People's Liberation Army". Li said he appreciated "the American government, the White House, the military department, they have many times made it very clear ... we have no right to control the canal." Hutchison had rejected Lott's allegations in August, saying that it had no influence over the canal's operation or shipping traffic. Lott had complained in the letter to Cohen sent on August 1 that Hutchison's operation of container ports at each end of the canal was a security threat and a sign of China's growing influence over the waterway. "This administration is allowing a scenario to develop where U.S. national security interests could not be protected without confronting the Chinese communists in the Americas," wrote Lott. Li rose from rags to riches in Hong Kong's property market. He has close ties with the communist government in Beijing but Hutchison has denied any connection to the PLA. Hutchison is one of Hong Kong's biggest blue chip companies, with extensive holdings around the world. It is 49.97 percent owned by property developer Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd.
Maritime Reporter March 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Carnival Sails to Profit

The world's largest cruise company Miami-based Carnival Corp reported a net profit of $49 million, or 6 cents per share in the first quarter ended Feb. 28.   That

Ukraine Arrests Turkish Ship for Visiting Crimean Port

Turkey owned merchant ship flying the flag of Tuvalu was arrested by Ukrainian authorities over a visit it made to a port in Crimea, reports Reuters. The ship's captain detained.

USCG Flush Ice down River Systems to Facilitate Shipping

The Coast Guard cutter fleet is flushing ice through the Great Lakes river systems to prevent ice jams and facilitate commercial shipping as the shipping season

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1706 sec (6 req/sec)