China extended its congratulations to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Monday over his re-election victory and vowed to bring relations between the close economic partners to a “new high”. “President Chavez was re-elected and China congratulates (him) on that, and wishes Venezuela new achievements in the development of the country under the leadership of President Chavez,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing in Beijing. “In recent years China and Venezuela have maintained good bilateral relations. We are ready to continue to work with the Venezuelan side to elevate bilateral relations to a new high.” Chavez hailed his “perfect” victory in the presidential election Sunday, and vowed to be a better president after defeating opposition rival Henrique Capriles. Trade relations between the two countries have exploded in recent years, fuelled in part by energy-hungry China’s growing interest in the South American country’s sizeable oil reserves. Chavez, who is known for his leftist policies, has sought close relations with Communist Party-ruled China in a bid to reduce dependence on Washington. China has extended some US$30 billion in credit to Caracas, and Venezuela in turn sells some 640,000 barrels of oil a day to China.