General

Venezuela’s Maduro seeks deals with ‘big sister’ China

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

hailed China as a big sister as he prepared to meet with Chinese leader Xi

Jinping Friday, hoping to broker economic deals for his crisis-hit country.

Maduro declared after landing in Beijing overnight that he came with great

expectations to further deepen strategic ties with Venezuela's key creditor.

The leftist leader said his visit would give a big push to energy

investments, trade and the successful financial relationship between the

two countries.

China has loaned some $50 billion to OPEC member Venezuela in the past

decade, with Caracas repaying debt with oil shipments. The socialist-led

Latin American country still owes $20 billion to Beijing.

Maduro may return home with a new $5 billion loan and a six-month extension

to the grace period to service its debt, according to Venezuelan consultancy

Ecoanalitica.

China is our big sister. I will be very happy when I meet with our brother

Xi Jinping on Friday, said Maduro, who last visited China in March 2017.

He will be in China until Sunday.

Recently, the Venezuelan government has actively promoted economic and

financial reform with a good social response, Chinese foreign ministry

spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press conference on Thursday.

I think a stable Venezuelan development is in the interest of all

parties, Geng said.

The trip to China is Maduro's first outside the country since he was

allegedly targeted by exploding drones at a military parade in Caracas August

4.

Vice President Delcy Rodriguez visited Beijing before Maduro's arrival and

met with Chinese officials from the China Development Bank and China National

Petroleum Corp (CNPC).

Maduro's government has massively devalued the national currency as part of

a raft of measures intended to halt the economy's free-fall into

hyperinflation.

The International Monetary Fund projects Venezuela's inflation rate will

reach 1,000,000 percent by the end of the year.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country, most of them

into neighbouring Latin American countries.

Venezuela's crude oil production fell in August to 1,448,000 barrels per

day, the lowest level in three decades excluding a strike in the sector

between December 2002 and February 2003, according to the Organization of the

Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)