Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is travelling to China to discuss economic agreements, as the crisis-struck OPEC nation seeks to convince its key Asian financier to disburse fresh loans.
“I am going with great expectations and we will see each other again in a few days with big achievements,” the populist leader said on Wednesday in a state broadcast from the airport, without providing details.
China’s Foreign Ministry said president Maduro would visit from Thursday until Saturday at the invitation of President Xi Jinping.
“Recently, the Venezuelan president has actively pushed forward economic reforms, and there has been a positive reaction to these from society,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing.
“I think that a Venezuela that is steadily developing is in everyone’s interests. China has faith that the Venezuelan people and government will be able to handle its domestic affairs with the legal framework,” he added.
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez is currently in China and on Wednesday met with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement late Wednesday.
The two countries have long had friendly ties and cooperation has been “steadily progressing” in all fields, the ministry cited Wang as telling Rodriguez. On Tuesday, Rodriguez met with Zhang Jianhua, president of top state energy firm CNPC.
CNPC said on its website that Zhang told Rodriguez, who was also accompanied by a vice president of Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, that he hopes both sides continue to work harder to deepen cooperation in the oil and gas sectors.
The company cited Rodriguez as saying she hopes CNPC can help Venezuela boost output and move the cooperation to a higher level.
CNPC is a major investor in oil and gas exploration in Venezuela and also a top lifter of Venezuelan oil under the government-to-government loans for oil deals.
Over a decade, China ploughed more than US$ 50 billion into Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements that helped Beijing secure energy supplies for its fast-growing economy while bolstering an anti-Washington ally in Latin America.