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China, Venezuela Ink 8 Agreements
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China and Venezuela on Thursday signed eight agreements on a range of issues, including two on expanding energy cooperation, pointing to stronger ties between the two countries.

In the two agreements, the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and the PDVSA, the state-owned Venezuelan energy company, agreed to jointly develop Venezuelan oil fields, according to China's Foreign Ministry.

Other agreements, involving trade, energy, infrastructure construction and tourism, were signed after Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks with visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

"I'm very satisfied with the cooperation with China in the oil and petrochemical fields," Chavez told reporters after the ceremony, vowing to increase oil exports to China to 500,000 barrels per day in the near future.

During talks with Hu, Chavez said Venezuela would make concerted efforts with China to implement their proposals and strengthen cooperation in bilateral and multilateral areas so as to develop the bilateral strategic partnership.

Venezuela hopes to expand cooperation in energy, railway construction, telecommunications, agriculture, tourism, culture and education, and develop the bilateral high-level mixed committee into an important platform for enhancing cooperation, Chavez said.

As this year marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Sino-Venezuelan strategic partnership, Hu put forward a four-point proposal to further bilateral relations:

First, strengthen high-level exchanges and expand strategic consensus.

China would work with Venezuela to expand exchanges and cooperation between governments, legislatures and political parties and strengthen dialogue, consultation and coordination on major issues of common concern, Hu said.

Second, deepen reciprocal cooperation and speed up common development.

China and Venezuela will cooperate to improve the functions of the bilateral high-level mixed committee, implementing cooperative projects, and exploring cooperation in railway construction, shipbuilding, oil machinery manufacturing and high technology, Hu said.

He also pledged that China would encourage enterprises to invest in Venezuela and welcome Venezuelan businesses to China.

China would work with Venezuela to explore their respective potential and expand cooperation for better economic and social benefits, Hu added.

Third, enhance cultural exchanges and mutual understanding with expanded cultural, education, science, technology, media, and tourism exchange.

Fourth, strengthen international cooperation, especially coordination in international and regional organizations such as the UN, World Trade Organization, and the Organization of American States.

Hu added that Sino-Venezuelan relations had grown comprehensively and deepened with frequent exchanges of high-level visits, increasing political trust, substantial progress in cooperation, and sound cooperation in international and regional affairs.

Hu expressed his appreciation for the Venezuelan government's adherence to the one-China policy and firm support for China on major issues such as Taiwan.

Chavez said the development of bilateral relations has entered a new stage as the two countries strengthened political mutual trust, economic and trade cooperation, cultural exchanges and people-to-people friendship.

He said the Venezuelan government would continue to abide by the one-China policy.

Chavez arrived in Beijing as Hu's guest on Tuesday night, the start of his six-day state visit.

He will also visit the eastern province of Shandong.

Chavez previously visited China in October 1999, May 2001, and December 2004.

(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2006)


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