Chinese President Xi Jinping holds talks with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro Moros, who is on a state visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, on September 13 (XINHUA)
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 September 13.
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.
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Venezuela. China is ready to strengthen people-to-people exchanges with Venezuela, support the development of Chinese language teaching Confucius institutes in Venezuela, and strengthen media exchanges, Xi said.
He called on the two sides to implement the outcomes of the 17th meeting of the Mixed Venezuela-China High-Level Committee and strengthen practical cooperation in various fields in the next stage.
Xi said China is willing to import more high-quality Venezuelan products and congratulated Venezuela on becoming the first country in the Americas to join the China-initiated cooperation on the International Lunar Research Station.
The two sides should work closely in multilateral mechanisms, including the United Nations, The Group of 77 (G77) and China, strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries, and jointly safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the common interests of developing countries, the Chinese president said.
Noting China attaches great importance to the development of China-Latin America relations and next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the China-CELAC Forum, Xi said China is ready to work with Venezuela and other countries in the region to promote China-Latin America cooperation and build a community with a shared future.
For his part, Maduro said Venezuela stands ready to strengthen communication and cooperation with China within multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations and the BRICS mechanism, safeguard multilateralism and the legitimate interests of developing countries, promote building a community with a shared future for humanity, and play a positive role in promoting the development of CELAC relations with China.
After the talks, the two heads of state witnessed the signing of a number of bilateral cooperation documents in the fields of jointly building the Belt and Road, economy and trade, education, tourism, science and technology, health, aerospace, and civil aviation.