Venezuela’s Maduro meets China’s Xi on trip to deepen ties
BEIJING (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a trip to deepen ties and seek increased financial support from one of his ailing country’s biggest creditors.
The two leaders reaffirmed their ties, with Maduro saying their relationship was “a model of international cooperation,” Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Maduro later met with Premier Li Keqiang, who said China was willing to provide “whatever assistance is within our means,” CCTV said.
CCTV said Maduro and Xi oversaw the signing of several agreements, but gave no details and foreign media were not given access to the meetings. Bloomberg News earlier cited Venezuela’s finance minister as saying China had agreed to extend Venezuela a $5 billion credit line.
Maduro said before leaving Venezuela on Wednesday that his agenda includes advancing commercial, energy and financial deals with China, whose economic backing has been crucial to his government.
China has provided Venezuela with loans, cash and investment in the last decade totaling more than $65 billion. Venezuela’s inflation is expected to hit 1 million percent this year.
Maduro has just launched a raft of sweeping economic reforms at home aimed at turning around the plummeting economy. The revamp includes a new currency, boosting the minimum wage more than 3,000 percent and raising taxes.