Xi visits Chavez's mausoleum to pay respect to China's 'great friend'

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Chinese President Xi Jinping pays a visit to the tomb of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, capital of Venezuela, July 21, 2014.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's mausoleum on Monday to pay respect to the "great friend of the Chinese people."

Chavez is also "a charismatic leader" and "a good friend of mine," Xi said, recalling that the late president was fond of Chinese culture, had deep understanding of the Chinese Communist Party's history and governance philosophy, and made outstanding contributions to China-Venezuela ties.

The Chinese president said that he remembers his two meetings with Chavez vividly and that the Chinese people cherish the memory of the late Venezuelan leader.

"I am glad to see that the Venezuelan government and people have carried on his cause, and I believe you will continue to make progress in building the country," Xi said.

Accompanying Xi at the mausoleum, Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza noted that Chavez had sincere and friendly feelings for China and attached great importance to Venezuela-China relations.

"The best way to commemorate him would be to inherit his will and continue to deepen the friendship between our countries," Arreaza said.

Also present at the visit were Chavez's daughter Rosa and a number of government ministers and senior military commanders.

Xi is on a state visit to Venezuela, the third leg of his ongoing four-nation Latin America tour, which has taken him to Brazil and Argentina. He is to travel to Cuba later Monday.

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