Bloomberg — President Xi Jinping said China and Venezuela agreed to enter into a strategic partnership, a sign the two nations are improving ties after years of cooling.
Xi earlier met President Nicolás Maduro in Beijing on Wednesday for their first sitdown since 2018. China and Venezuela also agreed to to deepen cooperation in various fields, state broadcaster China Central Television reported after the talks.
Maduro’s visit comes amid worsening strains between Washington and Beijing and as President Joe Biden also seeks to engage Venezuela — which has the world’s largest crude reserves — in talks to lift sanctions in exchange for allowing fair elections next year.
Maduro’s government wants to raise more money from Venezuela’s massive oil wealth before his expected bid for a third presidential term. Oil accounts for about 95% of the South American nation’s overseas revenue but that cash flow has been hit in recent years by mismanagement, corruption and US sanctions.
A delegation from Venezuela led by Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and Oil Minister Pedro Tellechea arrived in Shanghai last week. The pair are discussing potential joint ventures between China and state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
That delegation also met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Dilma Rousseff, president of the New Development Bank, headquartered in Shanghai and launched by BRICS members. They also visited Shanghai’s Oil and Gas Exchange.
Maduro has said he wants China’s support for his country to join the block of emerging-market nations that also includes Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. He also wants China to step up investment in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Last month at a summit in Johannesburg, the bloc invited top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates to join in a push to expand its global influence.
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