Xi Jinping eyes expanded energy ties with Venezuela
President Xi Jinping was due to arrive in Caracas yesterday where he hopes to further develop his country's strategic relationship with the oil-producing giant.
Venezuela is the third leg of Xi's Latin America trip after Brazil and Argentina.
Trade between the two exceeded US$20 billion in 2012 and China is the second largest buyer of Venezuelan oil.
Venezuela has signed loans-for-oil deals valued at more than US$50 billion, making it the biggest recipient of Chinese financing in the region.
Before Xi's arrival, the China Development Bank opened its office in Caracas on Saturday, the second branch the lender has opened in Latin America after Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, according to the bank's president, Hu Huaibang.
"We take this opening as a new beginning to further intensify co-operation between our governments, financial institutions and Venezuelan companies," Xinhua quoted Hu as saying.
The bank, wholly owned by the government, is mainly responsible for funding large-scale infrastructure, social development and international co-operation projects.
In an interview with Xinhua, Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Xoan Noya said he believed the two countries would continue to deepen political trust, expand co-operation in various areas and strengthen cultural exchanges.
Additional reporting by Associated Press