Why is China betting on a strategic alliance with Venezuela?


Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has arrived in Beijing to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and other key Chinese officials. It is important to understand why China helps the Caribbean country even though many countries are against it.

According to Maduro, relations between China and Venezuela “are very solid and robust and point to a greater development” – and the economic agreements and memorandums of cooperation are there to prove the words of the Venezuelan president.

International analyst Sergio Rodríguez Gelfenstein explained that considering China as a strategic partner is very transcendent for Venezuela, particularly in the face of extraordinary US efforts to undermine Caracas’ interests.

“It is known that there is an economic financial blockade against Venezuela in the international financial system,” said the analyst, adding that the increase in trade with China helps Venezuela to continue resisting aggression, imposed by the United States.

Under the bilateral agreements, the Venezuelan state-owned company PDVSA will cede to the National Petroleum Corporation of China (CNPC) 9.9% of the shares of Sinovensa, a crude oil production company established between both countries.

This is not the only mixed company of PDVSA and CNPC, according to a statement from the Venezuelan presidency. In addition, the companies signed a “memorandum to strengthen joint cooperation” in the field of gas exploration in Venezuela.

China has already announced support to boost the country’s oil sector in July by investing $250 million to boost PDVSA production, the Venezuelan representative said.

According to Rodríguez Gelfenstein, relations between the two countries are not only bilateral but influence Latin America in general, since “China plays a more transcendent role” on the international stage, being a “global power.”

Beyond Latin America, relations between China and Africa are growing stronger, as was clear at the China-Africa Cooperation Forum. Xi Jinping stated that “China and Africa must unite to forge a community together” based on the principles of responsibility, cooperation and harmonious coexistence.

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Among the priority actions, the Chinese leader has named the “eight actions”, which include industrial stimulus, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health, cultural exchange and peace and security, which is shared by Latin America. But Beijing, in the Latin American context, has been playing with other cards, because in the region there is another potent influencer who sees it as “backyard” – the US.

According to the analyst, Washington is re-applying the Monroe Doctrine, which consists of the principle of foreign policy of “America for Americans.”

Now this Doctrine is no longer destined for the United Kingdom, but for Russia and China. However, Beijing is aware of its importance in economic development in the Latin American region.

“The role that China can play is to support, sustain and respect the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” he said.

Despite economic interaction, China and Latin America advance in their cultural understanding.

Being countries of different continents, it is very difficult for China and Venezuela to understand the peculiarities of the mentality of others, for example, labor culture, discipline, administrative and governmental efficiency.

However, China is approaching this and other realities in each Latin American country with which it is strengthening relations. The understanding of “political development, of society, of the state and of its functioning” will benefit progress in relations.

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