CARACAS, July 18 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Venezuela will set a milestone in the 40-year-old diplomatic ties between the two nations, says Chinese Ambassador to Venezuela Zhao Rongxian.
Since a strategic partnership for common development was forged in 2001, bilateral relations have entered a new stage of rapid development and achieved fruitful results in various fields, Zhao told Xinhua in a recent interview.
With frequent high-level exchanges having deepened political mutual trust, the two countries have cooperated closely within international and regional mechanisms such as the United Nations, and safeguarded the just rights and interests of developing countries, thus making great contributions to maintaining world peace and development, he said.
On the economic front, bilateral trade increased from 1.4 million U.S. dollars 40 years ago to a whopping 19.2 billion dollars last year. China is Venezuela's second largest trading partner, while Venezuela is China's fourth largest trading partner in Latin America, an important partner for energy cooperation and a major market of contracted projects.
Mutually beneficial cooperation has been carried out in a wide range of areas including infrastructure development and energy. Zhao noted that Chinese enterprises have undertaken such projects as social housing, power plants, telecommunication networks, roads and bridges in Venezuela.
In agriculture, China has helped build in the country irrigation systems, farming plants and agricultural machinery factories, among other projects, said Zhao.
It has also developed and launched two satellites for the Latin American nation, which are being used in land resources surveys, environmental monitoring and disaster management, he added.
When it comes to cultural exchange, Chinese artistic troupes have frequently visited the Latin American country, and Venezuela's youth orchestra have also performed many times in China. Nowadays, more and more young Venezuelans hope to learn Chinese or study in China.
"It is fair to say that the China-Venezuela relationship is now at its best in history. Their comprehensive cooperation has been expanded to every aspect of social life," said Zhao.
"The two nations have become good partners that enjoy political mutual respect and trust and economic mutual benefits and are learning from each other culturally," he added.
Just three years after the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1974, Zhao went to Venezuela as a student. Recalling the earlier years of his life there, Zhao said he "witnessed important moments in the development of bilateral ties and the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples."
"I believe President Xi's upcoming visit will undoubtedly chart the new direction for the development of bilateral relations, enhance and enrich the strategic partnership and explore new areas of cooperation, taking their bilateral cooperation to a higher level," said the ambassador.
Xi is scheduled to arrive in Venezuela on Sunday for his first state visit to the country. It will be the third leg of his ongoing Latin America trip.