Leader calls strategic links with Beijing a model

Updated: 2013-09-24 02:44

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)

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Venezuela's leader has suggested linking his Latin American country's development strategy with China's development prospects through increased cooperation.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro proposed the idea on Monday while meeting Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

"Venezuela is willing to connect with China on its development strategies and push forward cooperation in key areas to further develop the strategic partnership," Maduro said, according to a news release issued by the Foreign Ministry.

Maduro told Li that cooperation between Caracas and Beijing is a "model" of relations between two nations.

China is now Venezuela's second-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade, only $350 million in 2000, hit $23 billion in 2012 after the countries initiated several multibillion-dollar projects.

"Relations between China and Venezuela have continued developing in recent years. I have noticed that you are leading the Venezuelan people to sustainable development, and I appreciate that," Li told Maduro at the start of their talks.

The premier also discussed Beijing's experience with advancing economic growth despite the downward pressure on the country's economy.

Maduro also met China's top political adviser, Yu Zhengsheng, on Monday. Maduro told Yu that Venezuela will fulfill the wish of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to continue expanding the strategic partnership with China.

Wu Baiyi, a researcher on Latin America's economy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that stronger ties between Beijing and Caracas are a natural development.

"Latin American countries are now looking to Asia and starting to learn advanced development models and experience from the region, including China," he said.

The exchange and sharing of development experience is a key area of bilateral cooperation, Wu said, adding that Caracas can also benefit from Beijing's experience in industrial transformation.

Mo Jingxi contributed to this story.

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