China upgrades relationship with Venezuela to 'all weather' partnership

BEIJING (AP) — China announced Wednesday it was upgrading its diplomatic ties with Venezuela to an “all weather” partnership, a label reserved for a select few of its diplomatic partners.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is on a state visit to Beijing, his fifth as president, according to state broadcaster CCTV. He met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The two signed a series of bilateral documents for Belt and Road projects and cooperation in the areas of the economy, trade, and education, according to CCTV. China is willing to increase imports of Venezuelan products, Xi said, according to the CCTV readout.

The broadcaster did not give other details on the nature of the cooperation.

Venezuela is also the first Latin American country to join in China's International Lunar Research station, a long-term project that will study the moon.

One of the best known of China's select all-weather strategic partnerships is with Pakistan, where it has invested $25.4 billion over the past decade.

About 7 million people have left Venezuela during a complex political and humanitarian crisis that has been ongoing for the past decade. The country is reliant on oil as its main export but has faced U.S. sanctions. Last year, the Biden administration eased part of its sanctions on the country.

Maduro has cultivated China throughout his years in power. His country has received support from China in loans, cash and investment worth tens of billions of dollars.