Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolás Maduro is traveling to Beijing this week in hopes to secure more funding to keep his country afloat. Maduro will spend several days in China and will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to Reuters, President Xi initiated the meeting.
“I am going with great expectations and we will see each other again in a few days with big achievements,” Maduro said on Wednesday during a government-broadcasted speech, Reuters reports.
China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the visit during a press conference held by ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
“Recently, the Venezuelan president has actively pushed forward economic reforms, and there has been a positive reaction to these from society,” said Shuang during the conference. “I think that a Venezuela that is steadily developing is in everyone’s interests. China has faith that the Venezuelan people and government will be able to handle its domestic affairs with the legal framework.”
The Foreign Ministry spokesman also stated that the upcoming meeting would be “beneficial to both sides’ mutual trust to push forward cooperation, to expand ties between the two countries and to promote Venezuela’s development.”
China has already provided Venezuela with around $50 billion in financing “over the last decade,” according to Voice of America. The OPEC country repaid its debt to China with oil, which, according to Reuters, gave China a reliable flow of energy and helped establish its presence in South America. As Venezuela’s economy began to collapse and oil output fell, China pulled out of the deal. Three years later, however, experts believe that China is ready to invest in the socialist country again.
Reuters reports that China is prepared to offer Maduro a $5 billion loan, but is waiting until the socialist leader announces “a series of economic measures, including a steep devaluation and more flexible currency controls.”
South America is not the only region where China is looking to further its influence. Earlier this month, President Xi pledged $60 billion in funding for several African countries seeking to start new environmental and sustainability projects. The country also announced plans to expand its Afghanistan mission, although details of China’s involvement in the conflict have been scarce.
While China is looking to expand globally, Venezuela continues to hang on by a thread. This year the socialist country has been plagued with hardships. From a failing healthcare infrastructure to the rise of piracy off the Venezuelan coast, Maduro’s regime appears to be losing all control as the country’s economy continues to plummet.