The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, arrived in China this Friday (8) for an official visit that should last for the next six days. It is the first time that the president has visited the country since 2018 and his agenda should include a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Through social media, Maduro classified the visit as “historic” and said that it will serve to strengthen “cooperation ties and the construction of a new global geopolitics.”
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In a statement, the Venezuelan Presidency reported that the president must address “strategic alliances in economic, technological and commercial matters.”
The visit had already been confirmed by the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, on Thursday evening (7). According to the diplomat, relations between Beijing and Caracas “withstood the test of changes in the international situation and have always remained solid.”
Maduro arrives in Chinese territory days after Venezuelan vice-president, Delcy Rodríguez, arrived in the country with a delegation of senior officials, which includes the president of the state-owned oil company PDVSA and Minister of Oil, Pedro Tellechea.
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Rodríguez has already met with the Chinese chancellor, Wang Yi, visited the International Energy Exchange in Shanghai and had a meeting with the president of the New Development Bank (NDB, its acronym in English), Dilma Rousseff, at the headquarters of the financial entity.
According to sources interviewed by the Bloomberg agency, the visit by Venezuelan authorities should serve to negotiate agreements in the South American country’s oil sector, with the possible creation of mixed exploration companies between PDVSA and Beijing.
China is one of the main importers of Venezuelan oil, but stopped operating in the country after the sanctions imposed by the US practically paralyzed PDVSA’s exports. Since then, shipments sent to the Asian country have been sold through intermediation by third parties and at discounts, as a way of circumventing Washington’s blockade.
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The visit also takes place amid expectations for the resumption of negotiations between Venezuela and the USA, mainly before the 2024 presidential elections. Supporters of the opposition, the Americans demanded reforms in the electoral body – which had its leadership renewed on August 25th – and the end of political disqualifications against opponents to, in exchange, eliminate some sanctions.
Caracas, in turn, demands the complete suspension of the blockade, responsible for paralyzing the country’s main economic activity and worsening the economic crisis that has reduced Venezuelan GDP by around 70% in the last 12 years.
Editing: Thales Schmidt