Venezuela ties set for new stage

Xi tells Maduro two countries should enhance friendship, boost cooperation

China and Venezuela signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday on Belt and Road construction as part of their joint efforts to further advance their pragmatic partnership.

President Xi Jinping and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, who is on a state visit to China, witnessed the signing of the MOU as well as a number of other cooperative agreements in such fields as education, agriculture, trade, culture and human resources.

The two leaders agreed to bring the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries to a new stage when they held talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Welcoming Maduro’s 10th visit to China, Xi said that, against the backdrop of increasing instabilities and uncertainties in the world, the two countries should work together to enhance friendship and mutual trust, innovatively advance mutually beneficial cooperation and promote sustained common development.

The two sides should avail themselves of the opportunity presented by the signing of the MOU on construction related to the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, strengthen alignment and push for the implementation of the consensus of the two countries on cooperation, in order to improve Venezuela’s capability for independent development and promote the sustainable development of bilateral cooperation, Xi said.

China appreciates Venezuela’s understanding and support on issues related to China’s core interests and major concerns and will continue to support Venezuela’s efforts to seek national stability and development, he said.

Xi called on the two countries to intensify multilateral coordination and cooperation, jointly participate in the reform of the global governance system and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.

China stands ready to promote a comprehensive cooperative partnership with Latin American countries in a sustained and steady manner, he added.

Maduro hailed bilateral ties as solid and fruitful, saying the all-around cooperation is in synergy with Venezuela’s national plan for economic recovery, stability and prosperity.

He said he highly appreciates Xi’s proposal for building a community of shared future for mankind, adding that his country stands ready to work with China to uphold multilateralism.

Also on Friday, Maduro met with Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Li Zhanshu and attended the closing ceremony of the 16th High-Level Joint Commission between the two governments, at which enterprises from the two countries signed a series of cooperative agreements.

Zhao Bentang, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, told reporters that Venezuela’s stable development is in the interests of various parties. China hopes and also believes that the Venezuelan government and people can deal with the country’s domestic issues within a legal framework, Zhao said.

The relations between China and Venezuela and even Latin America at large are based on equality and mutual benefit, said Wu Hongying, a senior researcher of Latin American studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, in an interview with China Daily.

Venezuela considers China as the main country for oil exports, while China’s investment in infrastructure, satellites and technology has injected impetus into the industrialization of the Latin American country, Wu said.

Venezuela is one of China’s important partners in Latin America, Wu said. “China and Latin American countries have complementarities in economic cooperation, and the Belt and Road Initiative provides greater opportunities for partnership between China and Latin America.”