* Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro Moros, who is on a state visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People on Wednesday.
* The two presidents announced the elevation of the China-Venezuela relationship to an all-weather strategic partnership.
* Maduro said Venezuela is willing to learn from China’s experience in building special economic zones and deepen practical cooperation in agriculture, investment, education, and tourism.
Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro Moros, who is on a state visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People on Wednesday.
The two presidents announced the elevation of the China-Venezuela relationship to an all-weather strategic partnership.
ALL-WEATHER STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
Xi said China and Venezuela are good friends who trust each other and good partners for common development, hailing the ironclad friendship forged amid the ever-changing international landscape.
“China has always viewed its relations with Venezuela from a strategic and long-term perspective, and firmly supports Venezuela’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, national dignity and social stability, as well as Venezuela’s just cause of opposing external interference,” Xi told Maduro.
“The establishment of an all-weather strategic partnership between China and Venezuela meets the common expectations of the two peoples and conforms to the general trend of historical development,” Xi said, calling on the two sides to push for more fruitful China-Venezuela strategic cooperation, bring more benefits to the two peoples and inject more positive energy into world peace and development.
Maduro said Venezuela and China enjoy profound friendship and fruitful cooperation, making bilateral relations a model for relations among countries of the Global South. He said the Venezuelan people thank the Chinese government and people for their valuable support and assistance when Venezuela was suffering from illegal unilateral sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maduro said Venezuela’s national development and Venezuela-China relations are at a significant stage. “The establishment of an all-weather strategic partnership is of historic significance and will surely usher in a new era of bilateral relations.”
Sun Yanfeng, Deputy Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, noted that Venezuela is the first Latin American country that China established an all-weather strategic partnership with.
“The upgraded relationship means increased political trust, strategic need of each other, and high-level cooperation between the two sides. It also means they will surely expand cooperation in multilateral frameworks and, therefore, contribute to building a fair and just international order,” Sun said.
Xi spoke about China’s reform and opening up, especially the development of special economic zones, and noted that reform and opening up is an important instrument for China to catch up with the times in great strides and a crucial move in making China what it is today.
“China cherishes the valuable experience gained in this process and will continue to push forward reform and opening up. No force can stop China’s development and progress,” Xi said.
Xi said China stands ready to work with Venezuela to firmly support each other in exploring a development path suited to their national conditions and strengthen Party and national governance exchanges. He said China supports Venezuela in setting up special economic zones and will share relevant experience to help its national development.
Maduro said Venezuela is willing to learn from China’s experience in building special economic zones and deepen practical cooperation in agriculture, investment, education, and tourism.
Maduro said Venezuela supports the joint construction of the Belt and Road. The Venezuelan side also supports the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative proposed by Xi.
The Venezuelan president said China has become a great country committed to peace, development, and well-being of humanity and a vital engine for promoting a new multi-polar world. He added that everything he has seen and heard during his visit demonstrates China’s progress and strength.
Maduro started his week-long China visit in Shenzhen, a reform pioneer where one of China’s first special economic zones was established in 1980. There, the Venezuelan president experienced firsthand the achievements of China’s reform and opening-up.
If Venezuela can establish Venezuelan-style special zones to attract capital, technology, and management expertise, it will greatly promote Venezuela’s development, as Venezuela’s economy has been under pressure due to domestic political factors, U.S. sanctions, and COVID-19, said Song Junying. Song is the director of the Department for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the China Institute of International Studies.
“Whether it is the Belt and Road Initiative or the other three initiatives, China regards other countries as equal partners, fundamentally different from the initiatives put forward by other non-regional powers in history. Therefore, Latin American countries, including Venezuela, have embraced the Chinese initiatives,” Song said.