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International Relations

China says willing to provide Venezuela with what help it can

BEIJING (Reuters) -- China is willing to provide Venezuela with what help it can, Premier Li Keqiang told Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro on Friday, but there was no mention in state media of China providing any new funds for the country.

Maduro is in China on a four-day trip to discuss economic agreements, as the crisis-struck OPEC nation seeks to persuade its key Asian financier to disburse fresh loans.

Li told Maduro that China supported Venezuela's efforts to develop its economy and improve people's livelihoods, and it was willing to provide what help it could, Chinese state television reported, without giving details.

China was also willing to keep developing business and trade exchanges, and hoped that Venezuela could provide more "policy support and legal guarantees", Li added.

In a separate meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Maduro thanked China for its long-term understanding and support, Chinese media said.

Venezuela was willing to "explore effective financing methods" with China and strengthen cooperation with China in the energy sector, media added, citing Maduro, without elaborating.

Xi told Maduro the two countries should promote mutually beneficial cooperation to take relations to a new stage, and they should consolidate political mutual trust, state television said.

China would, as before, support the Venezuelan government's efforts to seek stability and development, Xi added.

There was no mention in the report of China agreeing to provide new funds for Venezuela.

Over a decade, China ploughed more than $50 billion into Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements that helped China secure energy supplies for its fast-growing economy while bolstering an anti-U.S. ally in Latin America.

The flow of cash halted nearly three years ago, however, when Venezuela asked for a change of payment terms amid falling oil prices and declining crude output that pushed its state-led economy into a hyperinflationary collapse.

Venezuela's finance ministry in July said it would receive $250 million from the China Development Bank to boost oil production but offered no details. Venezuela previously accepted a $5 billion loan from China for its oil sector but has yet to receive the entire amount.

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