May 22, 2018 / 7:47 AM / a month ago

China rebuffs U.S. concerns about ties with Venezuela

BEIJING, May 22 (Reuters) - China rebuffed U.S. concerns about its ties with Venezuela on Tuesday after Washington imposed new sanctions on the crisis-stricken oil-producing country following the re-election of its socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro, the 55-year-old successor to late leftist leader Hugo Chavez, hailed his win in Sunday’s election as a victory against “imperialism”. But his main challengers alleged irregularities and refused to recognise the result.

In response to the vote, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order restricting Venezuela’s ability to liquidate state assets and debt in the United States, the latest in a series of sanctions that seeks to choke off financing for the already cash-strapped government.

While the order applies only to U.S. citizens and residents, a senior U.S. official said the Trump administration had had “fairly pointed discussions” with China and Russia over the issuing of new credit to Venezuela.

Maduro has counted on the support of China and Russia, which have provided billions of dollars in funding in recent years.

Asked what China had told the United States in response to its concern about Chinese loans to Caracas, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China believes the United States and Venezuela should resolve their differences via talks.

“China develops normal relations with other countries in the world, including normal cooperation. I think other countries should not make irresponsible remarks about this,” Lu said, without elaborating. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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