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Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi (right) meets Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicols Maduro Moros during his official visit to China in November 2007. Photos provided to China Daily
Venezuela and China established diplomatic relations on June 28, 1974, and over the following 38 years, the two nations have consolidated ties that continue to grow stronger through friendship and mutual respect.
If we could build an imaginary bridge between the two countries to highlight the most important aspects of the bilateral relations in these years, the period beginning in 1999 that corresponds to the current Bolivarian Government would be like the keystone, given the great warming of bilateral relations that occurred during this time.
It is not a coincidence that this strengthening of relations with China is taking place under the government of President Hugo Chavez.
The Bolivarian foreign policy is clearly based on the same principles that guide China's foreign policy, such as non-interference in internal affairs, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.
Both countries oppose imperialism, hegemonism and colonialism, promote world peace as a supreme value and encourage multi-polarity as a possible way to achieve global equilibrium and constructive stability, thereby facilitating the development of all nations.
Since 1999, the levels of political dialogue, consultations and agreements have risen to new heights due to numerous high-level official visits.
Of particular significance are the six visits Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez has made to China since he took office and visits to Venezuela made by then Chinese President Jiang Zemin in 2001, Vice-President Zeng Qinghong in 2005, CPC Politburo standing member Li Changchun in 2007, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu in May 2008 and, most recently, the visit of the Vice President Xi Jinping in February 2009.
The concrete results of this ongoing dialogue have been extraordinary.
There has been an unprecedented increase in bilateral trade and cooperation between the two countries, which have, to date, signed a total of 460 bilateral agreements, 98 percent of which were finalized during the government of President Chavez.
Included in these agreements are some 160 projects being developed in different areas, some of which are strategic. Internationally renowned Chinese companies are partnering with the Venezuelan government in these projects, which cover virtually every field of cooperation possible between the two countries.
The Venezuela-China High Level Commission, founded by the two governments in 2001, is the mechanism in charge of following up on these projects.
The commission is presided over by the Venezuelan Ministry of Popular Power of Planning and Financing and the Chinese National Commission for Development and Reform.
The mechanism will host its 11th meeting at the end of this year in Beijing to review and evaluate the progress achieved since its 10th meeting held in Caracas in November 2011.
The Strategic Alliance for Joint Development that guides cooperation between Venezuela and China started in 2001. It focuses on two fundamental issues: energy and agriculture. Since then, this partnership has evolved, becoming ever more complex and diversified.
Agriculture and energy
In the agricultural field, there are several important projects, such as the construction of the national irrigation system in Venezuela.
This strategic partnership is based on an agreement signed in May 2008 by both ministries of agriculture, the Venezuelan Economic and Social Bank and the China Development Bank. This agreement backs the political will and the necessary financing of the projects.
In the energy sector, the strategic alliance has shown rapid and steady development.
The goal is to consolidate Venezuela as one of the main suppliers of crude oil and products for the Chinese market.
This will be achieved by creating the required infrastructure, such as refineries in China and oil tankers for transportation, as well as through sharing the tasks of exploration, exploitation and production.
In April 2012, Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela's minister of oil and mining was in attendance for the opening of the Guangdong's new Jie Yang refinery, the first of three that will be built jointly in China by the two state-owned oil companies.
Ramirez was joined by CPC Politburo standing member and also Guangdong Party Secretary Wang Yang, and Zhou Jiping, the president of the China National Petroleum Corp.
Aside from the major sectors of energy and agriculture, Venezuela and China have broadened cooperation over the last eight years, achieving an impressive level of diversification.
Today, there are projects in almost all possible fields of cooperation, such as planning, science and technology, telecommunications, mining, industries, manufacturing, infrastructure, aerospace and homebuilding.
At the same time, cooperation in culture, education and sports has also grown considerably, and new areas for joint action in social issues are now being agreed upon, which will allow Venezuelans to benefit from China's unparalleled experience in fighting poverty.
The financing of a partnership of such vastness and complexity is assured through the establishment of the Joint Financing Fund, also known as the "Heavy Fund", in 2008 and the Long Term Financing Cooperation Facility in September 2010.
Cooperation between Venezuela and China is based on a strategic alliance born in 2001 out of solidarity and mutual benefit. The vision of the leaders of the two countries has made it possible.
The commitment is to concentrate on the implementation and development of the agreements and fulfill the whole range of projects that can have a significant impact for both countries, especially Venezuela and do it well and without delay.
Provided by the Embassy of Venezuela in China
(China Daily 06/28/2012 page25)