June 10 - Nicaragua's National Assembly says that a Chinese company will be contracted to build a canal across Nicaragua linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, providing an alternative to the Panama Canal, with the Chinese using funds from global invest

Project experts say the canal could take 11 years to build and require digging about 130 miles of waterway.

It was reported in the UK's Guardian newspaper that the president of the country's national assembly, Rene Nuñez, announced the USD40 billion 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.

In a project with profound geopolitical ramifications, 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.

According to a bill submitted to congress last year, Nicaragua's canal will be bigger than the Panama and Suez in all dimensions.