Venezuela’s new acting president, Nicolas Maduro, held talks with a Chinese delegation on Saturday and the two sides vowed to deepen strategic relations in honor of late leader Hugo Chavez.
Maduro, who was sworn in late Friday, met with the chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Zhang Ping, who represented President Hu Jintao at Chavez’s funeral.
Maduro, whose inauguration was rejected by the opposition as unconstitutional, thanked China for providing scientific and medical support for Chavez’s cancer treatment. Chavez lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday at age 58.
Zhang recalled that Chavez travelled to China six times during his 14-year presidency, forging a “great friendship” with the Chinese leadership.
The Venezuelan government read a letter of condolences it received from Hu, saying that Chavez’s death caused “great pain” to the people of China.
China is Venezuela’s second biggest trade partner, with Caracas delivering 600,000 barrels of oil per day to Beijing with plans to increase it to one million in 2015, according to the Venezuelan government.