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Venezuelan president in China for finance talks

BEIJING (AFP) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in China yesterday, he posted on social media, as the oil-rich socialist country seeks to shore up its ailing finances.

China is Venezuela’s main creditor and has close relations with the internationally isolated nation, whose GDP has contracted by 80 per cent in a decade because of an economic crisis.

After touching down in the rain-soaked southern city of Shenzhen, Maduro posted on X – formerly Twitter – that his “historic” visit was aimed at “strengthening cooperation and the construction of a new world order”. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning earlier hailed ties with Venezuela as “rock solid”, calling the two countries “comprehensive strategic partners”.

“In recent years under the direction of President Xi Jinping… cooperation in various fields has been deepening,” she told a briefing.

“China is willing to use President Maduro’s visit to Venezuela as an opportunity to plan the blueprint for the development of China-Venezuela relations in a new era,” she added.

Beijing would also seek to “promote the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries to a new level, and make new contributions to promoting world peace and stability, maintaining international fairness and justice”, she said. Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez visited Shanghai and Beijing this week, meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in one of the highest-level China visits by officials from Caracas in years.

“We reinforced our bilateral relationship, expanded strategic cooperation and joint international work for peace and the respect of the UN charter’s principles and goals,” Rodriguez said.

The visit was also aimed at securing fresh oil investment from Beijing and discussing a possible joint venture between Venezuelan and Chinese petroleum firms, Bloomberg reported.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. PHOTO: AFP