(London Guardian) Nicaragua has awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build an alternative to the Panama Canal, in a step that looks set to have profound geopolitical ramifications.

The president of the country’s national assembly, Rene Nuñez, announced the $40bn (£26bn) project, which will reinforce Beijing’s growing influence on global trade and weaken US dominance over the key shipping route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The name of the company and other details have yet to be released, but the opposition congressman Luis Callejas said the government planned to grant a 100-year lease to the Chinese operator.

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