Maduro greets new Chinese Ambassador as “old friend”

President Nicolas Maduro greeted new Chinese Ambassador Zhao Bentang as “an old friend of Venezuela,” while receiving his credentials Thursday in Caracas.

Maduro said that he welcomed the envoy exactly one year after Chinese President Xi Jinping paid his state visit to Caracas in July 2014, when both sides agreed to upgrade the bilateral ties to comprehensive strategic partnership.

During the ceremony, Maduro and Zhao stressed the importance of deepening the bilateral cooperation, which was embodied in over 445 agreements in the fields of energy, infrastructure, agriculture, technology, education and so on.

A week ago, during her routine meeting with Zhao, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez thanked China for sending an ambassador “who has handled its relations with Latin America,” noting the very importance that China has attached to the bilateral ties.

Zhao once served as the Deputy Director of the Latin American Department of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of China, almost knowing the region at hand.

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