- - Thursday, September 26, 2013

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Beijing on Sunday and signed away a big part of his country’s development projects to China.

Most of the deals cover energy, agriculture, science and technology, and were signed against the backdrop of the nations’ common dislike of the U.S.

The deals include a $14 billion Chinese investment in developing an oil field in Venezuela’s Orinoco region, with an anticipated daily output of 200,000 barrels, mainly to be exported to China.

Also in the package is Venezuela’s order to buy 2,000 Chinese-made buses.

To reward Mr. Maduro’s generosity, China provided Venezuela with a low-interest $500 million loan.

China is the world’s largest energy consumer, and Venezuela reportedly has the world’s largest oil reserves, estimated at nearly 300 billion barrels. Currently, Venezuela exports more than 620,000 barrels of crude oil daily to China.

Coinciding with Mr. Maduro’s arrival, Chinese state media turned up the propaganda by playing up his accusation that Washington denied Venezuela’s request to fly over Puerto Rico and Alaska during Mr. Maduro’s flight to Beijing. His plane was chartered from the Cuban government.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Maduro also made headlines in China for publicly disclosing what he said was a U.S. plot to assassinate him and overthrow his government.

Chinese media appeared to relish his claim that he had obtained records of a closed-door White House meeting to carry out the plot, presumably to take place as the U.S. bombed Syria.

The State Department dismissed Mr. Maduro’s accusations as far-fetched.

Spokeswoman Marie Harf said Venezuela’s flyover request was delivered one day before the flight was to take place, and normal procedures require three days for requests to be considered. Once the State Department clarified the request with the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, it was granted within hours, she said.

Nevertheless, the Beijing government mouthpiece, Global Times, called the incident another “small-minded fuss played up by a superpower.”


From Sept. 2 to 22, Chinese and Pakistani air forces conducted a joint exercise in the restive Chinese Muslim region of Xinjiang, located next to the Pakistani-controlled portion of Kashmir that has been at the core of a longtime dispute with India.

Code-named Shaheen Eagle II, the drill was held ahead of a China-India joint drill set for Nov. 4 to Nov. 14.

Pakistan is China’s largest foreign military ally.

India and Pakistan have had territorial disputes over Kashmir since the two countries’ independence in 1947. China has had a separate territorial dispute with India over a large area by the foothills of the Himalayas.

Over the years, China has quietly expanded its influence in Kashmir and now is in de facto control of one-eighth of the region. Its actions increase the odds for a major military conflagration in the Indian-Pakistani struggle over Kashmir.

Shaheen Eagle I was held inside Pakistan in 2011.

Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com and @Yu_miles.

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