Beijing, Caracas to boost energy ties.

China and Venezuela on Thursday signed eight agreements on a range of issues, including two on expanding energy cooperation, pointing to stronger ties between the two countries.

The China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and the state-owned Venezuelan energy company PDVSA agreed to jointly develop Venezuelan oil fields, according to China's Foreign Ministry.

Other agreements, involving trade, energy, infrastructure construction and tourism were signed after Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks with visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

``I'm very satisfied with the cooperation with China in the oil and oil chemical fields,'' Mr. Chavez told reporters after the ceremony, vowing to increase oil exports to China to 50,000 barrels per day in the near future.

During talks with Mr. Hu, Mr. Chavez said Venezuela would make concerted efforts with China to implement their proposals and strengthen cooperation in bilateral and multi-lateral areas so as to develop the bilateral strategic partnership.

Venezuela hoped to expand cooperation in energy, railway construction, telecommunications, agriculture, tourism, culture and education, Mr. Chavez said.

The first was to strengthen high-level exchanges and expand strategic consensus. The Chinese side would work with Venezuela to expand exchanges and cooperation between Governments, legislatures and political parties and strengthen dialogue, consultation and coordination on major issues of common concern, Mr. Hu said.

The second was to deepen reciprocal cooperation and speed up common development. The third point was to enhance cultural exchanges and mutual understanding with expanded cultural, education, science, technology and media .

The fourth was to strengthen icooperation, especially coordination in international and regional organisations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the Organization of American States, Hu said.

[Source: Xinhua News Agency, The Hindu, Ind, 25Aug06]

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