CARACAS, July 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Leaders of Venezuela and China agreed to form a strategic alliance, which in the recent years enjoyed a surge in bilateral cooperation, President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro said on Monday.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping is on a tour across a number of Latin American states and is currently on an official in Venezuela.
“We have decided to take our relations to a higher level and declare a strategic alliance between China and Venezuela,” Maduro said after his meeting with the Chinese leader in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas.
The Venezuelan president said the diplomatic relations between the two countries have been successfully maintained over the past 40 years, and the decisive stage of strengthening bilateral ties was reached after late President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999.
The trade between China and Venezuela under the presidency of Chavez, who passed away in March of 2013, and his successor Maduro soared from $1.4 million to the current $19.2 billion. Over the past 15 years, Venezuela turned into the fourth most important Latin American trade partner for China.
Venezuelan Minister of Petroleum and Mining Rafael Ramirez said on Sunday his country intended to increase oil exports to China to 1 million barrels per day by 2016.
Venezuela started oil exports to China in 2005 at the volume of 49,000 barrels per day, and the figure grew to 524,000 in 2013.