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Nicaragua endorses route for Chinese-built canal

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega endorsed Tuesday a route chosen by a Chinese firm commissioned to dig a US$40 billion canal linking the Caribbean and the Pacific.

HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. (HKND) announced Monday it settled on one of six possible routes for the 278-kilometer (174-mile) waterway to rival the Panama Canal.

Construction is scheduled to begin late this year.

This particular path, known as No. 4, was picked because it would be the most respectful of the environment, according to the company.

It will take advantage of the presence in Nicaragua of Lake Cocibolca, Central America's largest body of fresh water.

“We are happy with the information that the company has provided to the Nicaraguan people,” Ortega said during a televised meeting with Wang Jing, chairman of HKND.

Ortega said studies carried out by the company over the past year since it was hired to build the canal “have shown us that the result of their work is going to bring benefits to the people of Nicaragua.”

The Chinese firm plans environmental mitigation efforts such as reforestation and moving animals to other parts of the country, said the president.

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