Venezuela has secured China’s support in its bid for a United Nations Security Council seat, Hugo Chávez said on Thursday as he announced a raft of deals to develop his oil-rich nation’s resources.
Detailing an agreement to almost quadruple oil sales to China to 1m barrels a day over the next decade, the Venezuelan president said Hu Jintao, his Chinese counterpart, had assured him of China’s support over its rival Guatemala.
‘‘The support of China is very important from the political and moral point of view,’’ said Mr Chávez after meeting Mr Hu.
The move, together with the broadening of energy ties between Beijing and Caracas, is a further sign of warming relations between China and Venezuela, a worrying trend for the US.
“I’m very satisfied with co-operation with China in the oil and petrochemical fields,” Mr Chávez was quoted as saying on Thursday by the state-run Xinhua news agency. He expressed a desire to diversify his country’s petroleum business.
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), China’s state-controlled oil major, and PDVSA, the Venezuela state oil company, have signed two agreements to jointly explore Block 4 of the Junin area of the Orinoco River basin as well as the region of Zumano in Venezuela.
No financial details of the deals were made public.
Venezuela’s oil fields are among the most productive in the world. China’s appetite for crude has been insatiable in recent years, with Venezuelan imports set to rise fast.
This week, Mr Chávez predicted oil exports to China could reach 500,000 barrels a day in five years’ time, nearly tripling from the current amount of about 160,000 b/d. He predicted exports could reach 1m b/d within a decade.
Aside from the energy contracts, six other agreements were signed on Thursday, including those focusing on bilateral trade and infrastructure construction.
Both Mr Chávez and Mr Hu said co-operation would be likely to include the building of oil machinery, railways and telecommunications networks.
Beijing frequently assists developing countries, including rogue regimes shunned by the west, with infrastructure building and other economic incentives. In exchange, China often is able to secure much-needed oil and mineral resources for its expanding economy.
Mr Hu said China was encouraging more companies to invest in Venezuela. Beijing’s leaders have made it a priority to urge competitive Chinese enterprises – particularly in the energy, construction and high-technology fields – to “go out”.