Chavez a 'great leader and great friend': China

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Chavez a 'great leader and great friend': China

by AFP Videos 0:35 mins

Chavez a 'great leader and great friend': China

by AFP Videos 0:35 mins

SHOTLIST: CARACAS, VENEZUELA, 29 JUNE 2011 - Man painting a fresco of Hugo Chavez BEIJING, MARCH 6, 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV SOUNDBITE 1 Hua Chunying (woman), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman (Chinese, 11 sec): "President Chavez is a great leader of Venezuela as well as a great friend of the Chinese people and has made an important contribitution to friendly and cooperative relations between China and Venezuela." - Journalists at press conference SOUNDBITE 2 Hua Chunying (woman), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman (Chinese, 10 sec): "Venezuela is an important country in the region and also a good friend of China. In recent years bilateral relations have registered significant development." CARACAS, VENEZUELA, 29 JUNE 2011 - Mural of Chavez in the streets BEIJING, MARCH 6, 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV - Journalists at press conference ------------------------------------------- AFP TEXT: Venezuela-politics-Chavez-China,REAX Chavez a 'great leader and great friend': China BEIJING, March 6, 2013 (AFP) - China described the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez as a "great friend of the Chinese people" on Wednesday, promising to maintain ties with the petroleum-rich South American country. Chavez, known for his leftist policies, sought close relations with Beijing's Communist authorities in a bid to reduce his country's dependence on the United States, and Venezuela now sells some 640,000 barrels of oil a day to China. In turn, Beijing has extended at least $30 billion in credit to Caracas. "President Chavez was a great leader of Venezuela as well as a great friend of the Chinese people and has made an important contribution to friendly and cooperative relations between China and Venezuela," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. President Hu Jintao and soon-to-be-installed leader Xi Jinping had sent personal messages of condolence to Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro following the 58-year-old leader's death from cancer, she added. "Venezuela is an important country in the region and also a good friend of China," she said at a regular briefing in Beijing.

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