China steps up engagements in Latin America, which US sees as expansionism.
The Chinese government’s top diplomat issued a stern warning on Friday against interfering in Venezuela or imposing sanctions on the South American nation, saying history offered a clear lesson about not “following the same old disastrous road”.
China has repeatedly called for outsiders not to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs and has stuck by embattled President Nicolas Maduro.
Most Western nations have recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state. The US has pledged to “expand the net” of sanctions on Venezuela, including more on banks supporting Maduro’s government.
State councillor Wang Yi, responding to a question on whether China still recognised Maduro or had had contacts with the opposition, said the sovereignty and independence of Latin American countries should be respected.
“The internal affairs of every country should be decided by their own people. External interference and sanctions will only exacerbate the tension, and allow the law of the jungle to run amuck,” Wang said at his annual news conference on the sidelines of China’s parliament meeting.
“There’s already enough of such lessons from history, and the same old disastrous road should not be followed.”
China continues to support the Venezuelan opposition and government to seek a political solution via peaceful dialogue, to ensure the country’s stability and people’s safety, Wang added.
Beijing has lent more than $50 billion to Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements over the past decade, securing energy supplies for its fast-growing economy. China has been stepping up its engagement in Latin America, to the concern of Washington, which has reacted particularly strongly to several nations there recently ditching diplomatic ties with self-ruled Taiwan in favour of China.
Last month, US National Security advisor John Bolton requested cooperation with El Salvador to counteract what he called the “predatory” expansion of China. El Salvador abandoned Taiwan last year. Wang said ties between the two sides were in both’s long-term interests, and should not be subject to interference.
Ties should not be subjected to interference