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US should not misinterpret Chavez's visit to China

By Aleksander Boyd

London 29.08.06 | Chavez's latest trip to China has got many analysts talking. As a rule of thumb I tend to disregard MSM's articles and reports, especially when these have the sole purpose of duping public opinion about political topics. Take for instance these two examples: 1) Chavez's declarations with regards to the alleged support that he may have gotten from China in his bid for the UN Security Council's seat; 2) Rafael Ramirez's announcement that China is to invest $5 billion in Venezuela's energy sector. Aside from Hugo Chavez and his oil minister there is no verifiable evidence to support neither statement. The MSM merily reported it, however to this moment no Chinese official has confirmed any of it. Stratfor actually seems to have learned how to interpret the BS coming from Venezuelan officials when it reports "China can be described as aggressive. China can be described as hungry for commodities. China can even be described as focused on displacing the United States. But what China cannot be described as is stupid. China will not pay a premium of nearly $10 a barrel for the privilege of using the world's most-exposed energy transport route to consume some of the lowest-quality crude that has ever been discovered."

Needless to say that where Stratfor got it awfully wrong was in identifying the party that will pick up the premium tab, for most certainly China is not paying a $10 a barrel premium for Venezuelan crude but rather Chavez offering a hefty discount in order to 'secure' China's support.

But what are Chinese sources saying? The BBC Monitoring International Reports published the following on 24 August:

US should not misinterpret Chavez's visit to China

Ta Kung Pao: "...If there really are people in the US who are worried that [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez and China are forging an anti-American alliance, that is an extremely ignorant and shallow view, which shows that these people do not understand the true meaning of China's peaceful development. China sympathizes with and understands the situation of Venezuela and many other developing countries and their standpoint towards the US, but based on the strategic aims of its peaceful development, China cannot establish any alliance with other countries... If the US examines this foreign policy of China from the perspective of power politics, it will inevitably harm the interests of the US..." (Sze Qun-yuk, columnist) (24)

Hong Kong's Ming Pao: "...Chavez's visit to China has two aims: First, to continue to deepen energy cooperation with China...; and second, to gain China's support for it to enter the US Security Council as a non-permanent member, and counter-balance US influence through close cooperation with China. Chavez's tactic of killing two birds with one stone is bound to push China into an awkward position... Chavez has become a hot potato for China. How to bring about deeper energy cooperation with Venezuela, while not falling into Chavez's trap of trying to drag China into his anti-American camp will require considerable political wisdom and skill from Beijing..." (Qiu Zhenhai, commentator, Phoenix TV) (24)

Can one conclude then that China did Chavez?

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