The president of China, Xi Jinping, hosted a welcoming ceremony for the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, and the Venezuelan delegation accompanying him, held at the entrance of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The two heads of state announced the elevation of the China-Venezuela relations to an “all-weather strategic partnership,” as reported by the Xinhua news agency.
The ceremony, held this Wednesday, September 13, began with a roll of drums, signaling the arrival of Xi Jinping and his wife. They descended the stairs of the People’s Palace and took their seats of honor next to the red carpet. Shortly after, President Maduro arrived in a presidential motorcade. He was greeted by President Xi, and the two leaders shook hands, proceeding to walk down the red carpet together.
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) September 13, 2023
The welcoming ceremony concluded with a brief exchange of speeches by Presidents Xi and Maduro. In their speeches, they reaffirmed the strong ties between China and Venezuela, and expressed their joint commitment to further cooperation between the two countries. The delegations of both countries then moved to the Great Hall of the People, where an intense work agenda took place.
The extended meeting between the delegations of China and Venezuela culminated with the signing of a total of 18 agreements of mutual interest. The agreements cover a wide range of areas, including politics, economy, trade, education, science and technology, aerospace, and communication.
Xi Jinping reiterated that China is ready and willing to work with Venezuela to build a “new era” in their relationship. He also expressed his support for Venezuela’s efforts to safeguard its national sovereignty and social stability, and further ratified the full support of China in assisting Venezuela in successfully building Special Economic Zones.
China is committed to strengthening people-to-people exchanges with Venezuela in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries next year. The Chinese president also announced that China will support the development of the Chinese language-teaching Confucius Institutes in Venezuela, as well as strengthening joint media exchanges.
President Maduro said that the agreements will help to strengthen the ties between China and Venezuela and contribute to the development of both countries, as their cooperation has become a model to follow for the Global South. He also thanked China for its support towards Venezuela during the COVID-19 pandemic and during Venezuela’s economic difficulties, as a result of illegal US and European sanctions.
Maduro emphasized the fact that China has become a “human and cooperative superpower,” a character that also makes it “the great engine of development of a new era, of a multipolar and pluricentric world.” He further took the opportunity to reiterate his congratulations to Xi Jinping “for his re-election at the helm of the destiny of the superpower of peace that we admire in the world,” and for the successful outcomes of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) 20th Congress.
The signing of these agreements comes at a time when China is seeking to expand its influence in Latin America. Venezuela is a key ally for China in the region, and these agreements will help to solidify their relationship, as well as strengthen China’s famed Belt and Road Initiative.
Special for Orinoco Tribune by staff