Chavez says China part of 'new world order'
BEIJING (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his two-day visit to Beijing this week is part of the creation of a "new world order."
The frequent U.S. critic, who met with China's president and Communist Party leader Hu Jintao on Wednesday, told reporters that power in the world was shifting from America to countries such as Iran, Japan and China.
"We are creating a new world, a balanced world. A new world order, a multipolar world," Chavez said after arriving Tuesday evening.
"The unipolar world has collapsed. The power of the U.S. empire has collapsed," he said. "Everyday, the new poles of world power are becoming stronger. Beijing, Tokyo, Tehran ... it's moving toward the East and toward the South."
Chavez continued his theme in his meeting with Hu, telling the president that "no one can be ignorant that the center of gravity of the world has moved to Beijing."
"During the financial crisis, China's actions have been highly positive for the world. Currently, China is the biggest motor driving the world amidst this crisis of international capitalism," Chavez said in preliminary remarks before reporters were ushered from the room.
Chavez has made Beijing a frequent stop in his global travels to promote his agenda of anti-American world unity, stopping in the Chinese capital six times since taking power in 1998 elections.
His visit follows a sweep through the Middle East last week, including a stop in Iran where he said he has little hope of better relations with Washington under President Barack Obama because the United States was still acting like an "empire" in his eyes.
While China's Communist leaders have been low key in their response to Chavez's political rhetoric, Beijing's state-run industries have been eager to use Venezuela as a jumping-off point for their entry into South America. Chinese companies in the mining and petroleum sector have been especially eager to secure South American mineral resources.
During his visit, Chavez said he planned to review with Chinese leaders a goal of boosting exports of Venezuelan oil to China from 380,000 barrels last year to 1 million barrels by 2013 — part of Venezuela's strategy of diversifying oil sales away from the United States, which buys about half the South American nation's heavy crude despite political tensions.
Included in that strategy are plans for China and Venezuela to build four oil tankers and three refineries in China capable of processing Venezuela's heavy, sulfur-laden crude.
China and Venezuela have also invested in a $12 billion fund to finance joint development projects in areas including oil production, infrastructure and agriculture.