China’s Xi meets Venezuelan President Maduro
Chinese leader Xi Jinping met Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday afternoon, according to state media.
“Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro in Beijing on Wednesday,” Xinhua news agency reported.
The pair will later hold a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, state broadcaster CCTV added.
Maduro arrived in Beijing on Tuesday after a tour of Shanghai and other Chinese cities.
The Venezuelan leader, who touched down in the southern tech hub Shenzhen on Friday, is expected to stay in China until Thursday for his first state visit to the country since 2018.
The 60-year-old Maduro is seeking to secure membership for Venezuela in BRICS, a bloc of emerging economies.
Beijing is Venezuela’s main creditor and has close ties with the diplomatically isolated, inflation-ravaged socialist nation.
Last week Maduro posted on social media that his “historic” visit was aimed at “strengthening cooperation and the construction of a new world order”.
China loaned about $50 billion to OPEC member Venezuela in the 2010s, with Caracas repaying the debt with shipments of oil, of which it has some of the largest reserves in the world.
It owed $20 billion to Beijing in 2018.
China has also provided extensive technological assistance to Venezuela as it expands control over its population, according to the Washington-based think tank Atlantic Council.
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning has hailed ties with Venezuela as “rock solid”, calling the two countries “comprehensive strategic partners”.
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