Chavez in China Touts 'New World Order'

Associated Press | April 8, 2009

BEIJING --Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his two-day visit to Beijing this week is part of the creation of a "new world order."

The frequent U.S. critic told reporters that power in the world is 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," Mr. Chavez said on arriving in China the evening before a scheduled Wednesday meeting with China's president and Communist Party leader Hu Jintao.

"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."

Mr. 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 no less than six times since rising to power in 1998 elections.

His visit follows a sweep through the Middle East last week, including a stop in Iran where he said that 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.

China's communist leaders have been low-key in response to Mr. Chavez's political rhetoric. But 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 keen on securing South American mineral resources.

Mr. Chavez said he plans 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.

The strategy includes 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.