Mérida, 18th July 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza has offered China a “front door” into the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) after arriving in Beijing on Wednesday.
Yesterday, the Venezuelan VP met with his Chinese counterpart, Li Yuanchao, and the China Development Bank’s (CDB) Hu Haibang. Arreaza stated that “a dozen ongoing projects for the development of Venezuela” were reviewed. The CDB is a major lender to Venezuela.
Arreaza is currently undertaking a four day visit to the Asian giant with the intention of “deepening the strategic alliance with the Chinese people and government”, according to a tweet from the VP.
Li called for more cooperation in areas including energy, finance and agriculture, and more high level exchanges between the two governments, China’s state news Xinhua reported.
“We are pleased with the progress of our cooperation and our relationships,” Li stated.
Arreaza described Sino-Venezuelan relations as “model for many countries around the world”.
The Venezuelan VP is also set to meet with the High Level Joint Commission, a bilateral body established under former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin in 2001 that coordinates strategic cooperation between the two countries.
According to Arreaza, Chavez viewed cooperation with China as having the “highest level of importance”.
“President Nicolas Maduro as ‘son’ and President Chavez’s political heir, also gives [the relationship] utmost importance,” he reportedly stated.
100 Years of Friendship
In March, Maduro called for “100 years” of friendship with China. Along with advocating closer strategic ties, during the Chavez era Venezuela undertook loans worth billions of dollars, much of which is being repaid in oil exports. Since 2008, Venezuela has borrowed over US$40 billion from China, including a recent US$4.02 billion loan from the CDB to Venezuela’s state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
“Venezuela is one of the most important countries for our international cooperation,” Hu stated.
Arreaza is meeting with President Xi Jinping today, before touring Shanghai’s Pudong financial district over the weekend.