Presidents of Venezuela, Zambia to visit China as South-South cooperation reaches new height
Published: Sep 08, 2023 10:46 PM


Shortly after the conclusion of the BRICS summit with the inclusion of six new members, leaders from the Global South including Venezuela and Zambia on Friday announced their plans to visit China in the coming week to seek closer ties. 

Experts believe that South-South cooperation is reaching new heights as more countries stand up against the US' destructive and hegemonic suppression that will only bring disaster, while its evil schemes will only further unite developing countries.

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros will pay a state visit to China from Friday to next Thursday, according to the Foreign Ministry. 

Commenting on the trip, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday that as comprehensive strategic partners, China and Venezuela have withstood the test of the evolving international landscape and remained rock-solid friends. The two countries' political mutual trust has grown more solid, and cooperation in various sectors has further deepened.

Through President Maduro's visit, China stands ready to bring the partnership to a new level, and make new contributions to world peace and stability as well as international fairness and justice, Mao said.

Maduro's upcoming visit follows the meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Eloina Rodriguez Gomez on Thursday in Beijing. She led the most senior Venezuelan delegation to visit China in five years, including oil minister Pedro Tellechea, who is here for the 17th meeting of the Mixed Venezuela-China High-Level Committee.

China and Venezuela have forged "an unbreakable, ironclad friendship," Wang told Rodriguez, and China firmly supports Venezuela in safeguarding its national independence and national dignity.

"It is an inevitable historical trend for developing countries to stride forward into the international arena," the Chinese top diplomat said, noting that China will continue to stand firm with other developing countries and be their reliable partner for development and prosperity.

Rodriguez thanked China for its firm support for Venezuela's just cause of opposing unilateral sanctions and unreasonable blockades and supporting Venezuela in building an independent and dignified country. She believes the cooperation between the two sides will embrace an even brighter future.

The high-profile delegation's visit will see the resumption of the Mixed Venezuela-China High-Level Committee, which was suspended during the pandemic. The last round was held in 2018. It is the most important bilateral cooperation mechanism for the pair, particularly in terms of economic and trade relations, Xu Shicheng, a research fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday.

According to official sources, the two countries have held 16 joint meetings under the mechanism that allowed the signing of 502 agreements in the fields of energy, mining, agriculture, economy, trade, culture, science, technology, aerospace, and politics, among others, Latin American News Agency reported. 

Defense cooperation is also included in these agreements, Xu noted. 

The two sides will also discuss strengthening oil cooperation, including the establishment of possible joint ventures between oil companies from China and Venezuela, the expert said. 

Venezuela has the world's largest crude reserves, and oil accounts for about 95 percent of the country's overseas revenue, according to media reports. However, revenues have been hit in recent years by US sanctions.

On the same day, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema will also pay a state visit to China from Sunday to next Saturday.

A series of recent signals have suggested that South-South cooperation is reaching new heights, experts said, with the expansion of BRICS, the consecutive state visits by Global South countries to China, and the upcoming G77 plus China summit to be held in Havana, Cuba on September 15.  

"They [Global South countries] have an urgent need to strengthen cooperation in order to demonstrate their strength and resist the pressure exerted by the US. The US' suppression has not only failed to achieve any of its desired results, but fostered greater unity among developing countries," Xu said. 

It is only logical and necessary for Global South countries to come together to jointly fight against the unfair international order established by the West, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday. 

"More and more countries have come to realize the highly destructive nature and extreme hegemonic thinking of the US-led West in their handling of economic and security affairs. The involvement of the West has only caused chaos and disaster, including in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and even North Africa. Therefore, the initiative for peace must be firmly grasped in the hands of Global South themselves," Li noted. 

Western media has been hyping China "skipping" the G20 summit in New Delhi, while hosting the two state visits is a shift of focus to prioritize relations that "fits into China's own vision for how the world should be governed." Li slammed such claims as being extremely irresponsible, as China has not "skipped" G20, adding that the two events are not contradictory, but rather complement each other.

China welcomes all kinds of cooperation platforms, but when such platforms "turn sour" with political schemes mixed in, China will not play along, said observers.