Top Venezuela diplomat in Beijing to boost 'strategic alliance'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 February, 2013, 10:38am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 February, 2013, 10:38am

Venezuela’s foreign minister has made a visit to China seeking to boost ties with a leading creditor and a country that is a growing market for Venezuelan oil.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday that Foreign Minister Elias Jaua met in China with a senior Communist Party leader, Yu Zhengsheng. Maduro said the Chinese official had received Jaua on behalf of party chief Xi Jinping.

Maduro said Xi had “ratified his support in this strategic alliance.”

The visit came while President Hugo Chavez remained in Cuba more than seven weeks after cancer surgery.

During Chavez’s tenure, China has purchased increasing amounts of Venezuelan oil and has become its biggest foreign lender.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez says China has provided about US$36 billion in loans in exchange for oil shipments.