China and Venezuela on Wednesday inked a series of agreements on wide-ranging fields, a sign of bilateral efforts to advance their strategic partnership to a new high.
The agreements came out of the summit talks in the Great Hall of the People as Beijing rolled out the red carpet for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
The 12 new cooperative deals covered trade, oil, finance, education, justice, telecommunications, infrastructure, sports and cultural relics.
Chinese President Hu Jintao gave an honor guard reception to Chavez, who was on his fifth visit to China since taking office as Venezuelan president.
Chinese President Hu Jintao(R) meets with visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, on September 24, 2008. [Liu Weibing/Xinhua/]
In their hour-long talks, Hu first thanked the Venezuelan government and people for providing relief to China following an 8.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the southwestern China on May 12.
In response, Chavez said the Venezuelan people were sympathetic with the victims in the quake. He wished the Chinese government and people a speedy recovery from the disaster.
On the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, Hu said China appreciated Venezuela's generous support while Chavez said the successes of hosting the two games would go down in history.
Stressing both China and Venezuela stayed at an important stage, Hu said the two countries shared the goal of stepping up substantive cooperation and seeking common prosperity.
To advance the bilateral strategic partnership, Hu proposed the two countries keep the high-level visits, enhance dialogues between the governments, legislatures and ruling parties, and exchange views on issues of common concern.
On the economic front, Hu said China would like to deepen "all-phase and integrated" oil cooperation with Venezuela, encourage businesses to invest in Venezuela and establish a trade zone.
China will also participate in building Venezuela's infrastructures, including railway system, telecommunications network, social housing and hydro-power.
Hu also called on the two countries to work more closely in education, culture, science and technology, justice, sports, journalism and poverty eradication.
Sharing Hu's view on bilateral ties, Chavez said bilateral trade had progressed smoothly, citing remarkable progress in oil, agriculture, science and infrastructure.
Chave said Venezuela would like to work closely with China on stronger political ties, increased dialogues and more substantive cooperation in energy, finance, agriculture and machinery.
On international issues, Hu and Chavez agreed to step up communication and consultation in multi-lateral organizations and on global issues, so as to safeguard the reasonable rights of developing countries.
Earlier Wednesday, top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo also met with Chavez. Wu said China's National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, would like to maintain its friendly exchanges and cooperation with the Venezuelan legislature, boosting the overall bilateral ties.
Chavez will conclude his three-day state visit to China on Thursday.
(Xinhua News Agency September 25, 2008)