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China Rejects US Media Reports About Talks With Venezuelan Opposition as False

© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteThe US Capitol building is mirrored in the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC Dec. 28, 2018.
The US Capitol building is mirrored in the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC Dec. 28, 2018. - Sputnik International
BEIJING (Sputnik) - US media reports about Beijing holding talks with the Venezuelan opposition to protect its investment and ensure Caracas will pay on its debts are false and unprofessional, with a US newspaper having failed to wait for a response to its request for Beijing's comment, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

"The Wall Street Journal published this material yesterday at 2 p.m. [Eastern Time, 19:00 GMT], while we were preparing a response [to their request]. It is not very constructive and [actually] unprofessional. In fact, this is a false message, it's fake," Hua Chunying said.

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal newspaper claimed, citing sources, that China had been holding talks with the Venezuelan opposition in a bid to hedge risks for its investments in the Latin American country as pressure was mounting on President Nicolas Maduro. Chinese diplomats have also reportedly held several negotiations with representatives of Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed president, about nearly $20 billion that Caracas owes Beijing. The newspaper claimed that the Chinese Foreign Ministry had not responded to its request for a comment.

According to Hua, some media outlets have been literally chasing after false news.

"I don't know what their purpose is. We hope that the relevant media will prepare their publications based on the principles of objectivity and justice," she added.

READ MORE: US to Boost Pressure on Venezuela, Cuba to Curb Russia, China in Region – Report

Commenting on the situation in Venezuela, the diplomat noted that Beijing advocated for a solution of the crisis through a political dialogue.

Geng Shuang, the spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in late January that China would continue developing its cooperation with Venezuela in different fields, condemning Washington's sanctions against Venezuelan energy sector. In particular, the spokesman stressed that the United States will have to bear responsibility for consequences of its sanctions that will lead to lower living standards of Venezuelans.

READ MORE: Lavrov: US Draft Resolution on Venezuela For UNSC Aimed at Possible Intervention

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Tensions in Venezuela escalated in January, when Guaido, the head of the opposition-led parliament, declared himself interim president, disputing President Nicolas Maduro's re-election. Guaido's declaration was almost immediately recognized by the United States and some of its allies. EU states were expected to issue a joint statement recognizing Guaido, but Italy vetoed the motion.

Russia, along with China, Mexico, Turkey, Iran Uruguay and several other states, has voiced support for Maduro as the legitimate and constitutionally elected president of Venezuela.

The US State Department announced in January that Washington had frozen $7 billion in assets belonging to PDVSA in order to make some of the money available to Venezuela's self-proclaimed acting president, Juan Guaido.

Maduro has accused Guaido of acting at the instructions of the United States and claimed that Washington was plotting together with the opponents of his government to overthrow him and get hold of Venezuela’s oil assets.

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The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Venezuela had difficulty shipping its oil after the latest US sanctions, with oil output dropping and oil tankers lining up while the government was looking for buyers. However, Ronny Romero, technical adviser at PDVSA and Petroleum Ministry, and Venezuela’s National Representative to OPEC, has told Sputnik that "until now the sanctions apply to US entities", stressing that Caracas intends to redirect its oil exports to Europe and Asia due to "illegal" US sanctions.

In an interview with Sputnik in January, Maduro said that his country's economy was "at the stage of critical revival". He also thanked Russia for assistance, citing mutual plans to develop cooperation in all areas, including "in the economy, trade, oil and gas, military affairs".

READ MORE: US Warns China, Russia About Issuing New Debt for Venezuela

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