by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sept 22, 2013
Visiting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Sunday, and said Beijing has granted his country a $5 billion credit line.
Maduro, vowing to strengthen the partnership established by his late predecessor Hugo Chavez, used his Twitter account to announce what he called "excellent news" for his country.
"We reached an agreement (with the state-owned China Development Bank) on a $5 billion line of credit for development," he wrote.
"With this line of credit we will pay for homes, and invest in agriculture, transportation, industry, roads, electricity, mining, health, science and technology."
Cooperation between the two countries has blossomed in recent years following the signing of several multi-billion-dollar agreements on investments in oil, energy, construction and high-tech industries.
China has provided more than $36 billion in loans to Venezuela, the world's largest holder of oil reserves, which it repays largely with crude.
"The main goal of this trip is to further consolidate and expand the strategic partnership between Venezuela and China that President Chavez began with Chinese leaders," Maduro said at Beijing's Great Hall of the People after a welcoming ceremony.
Maduro told Xi that China's economic rise has been beneficial to his own country's development.
Xi said: "President Maduro, you are China's good friend. This visit to China will certainly further promote China-Venezuela relations to new heights."
China currently receives 640,000 barrels of oil a day and access to Venezuela's vast natural resources.
Maduro arrived in China on Saturday after accusing the United States of refusing his plane access to its airspace for the journey -- charges that Washington denied.
The visit comes amid high tensions between Caracas and Washington, with US officials saying Saturday that they had not denied visas for the Venezuela delegation to this year's UN General Assembly, another issue of contention.
The staunchly anti-US Chavez died of cancer in March and was succeeded as president by Maduro in an election in April.
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