Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Ali Vitali

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared the Panama Canal is "doing quite well" during a bilateral meeting with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela Monday, praising the handiwork that built the waterway while discussing relations between the two countries.

“We have many things to discuss," said Trump in an Oval Office seated next to Varela. "We're going to spend quite a bit of time today. The Panama Canal is doing quite well, I think we did a good job building it.”

Turning to his counterpart, Trump asked "Right?"

"One hundred years ago," Varela responded.

The canal connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans was finished in 1914. The U.S. transferred control of the canal to Panama in December 1999.

During the short press availability, Trump heaped praise on the U.S.-Panama relationship, calling it "very strong" and promising it will be "only getting stronger."

“And our — also, friendship with the president is very, very good," President Trump said of Varela.

He ignored questions from reporters about the ongoing Russia investigation and whether or not he is under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.