Caracas (AFP) Feb 16, 2009
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping will begin Tuesday a two-day official visit in Caracas, as part of his ongoing tour of Latin America to strengthen relations with the region.
Xi is expected to sign several agreements with Venezuela, including "joint ventures with Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) for the exploration, exploitation, processing, refining and transportation of crude oil," the Venezuelan foreign ministry said in a statement.
"Today, we have a long-term strategic alliance for the next 100 years for the joint production of oil," said Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro.
China is expected to inject four billion dollars into a Chinese-Venezuelan investment fund created in 2007 with initial capital of six billion dollars.
"This fund will provide Venezuela with sources of financing for development projects and to maintain economic growth for the next two or three years, amid the global crisis," Maduro said.
The Chinese official’s arrival in Venezuela will coincide with the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Caracas and Beijing.
Historically cordial, these relations have strengthened since 2001, after both nations "established a strategic partnership for joint development," said Zhang Tuo, China’s Ambassador to Caracas.
This rapprochement has helped increase bilateral trade, which peaked at nearly 10 billion dollars in 2008, according to Zhang.
Last year, Venezuela launched its first geostationary satellite thanks to cooperation with China.
The Asian giant currently imports about 364,000 barrels of crude oil per day from OPEC member Venezuela, a figure expected to rise to 500,000 barrels in late 2009.
The two countries have also expanded their military ties. Caracas recently purchased a fleet of 18 K-8 reconnaissance and training aircraft from Beijing.
Xi’s agenda in Venezuela includes several ceremonies and meetings with leading politicians and businessmen.
Venezuela is Xi’s second stop in Latin America after first visiting Mexico and Colombia, where on Monday he signed seven cooperation agreements to boost bilateral trade.
After Venezuela, Xi will visit Brazil.
Source: Daily Latin Business News