China Slams White House For Latest Sanctions On "Close Ally" Venezuela

Shortly after the White House unveiled new sanctions last Friday against Venezuela while prohibiting U.S. trading in various bonds issued by the country (while exempting the notorious Goldman "Hunger Bonds"), Venezuela’s "close ally" China slammed the latest diplomatic crackdown and said on Monday that external interference and unilateral sanctions only make things "more complicated and will not help resolve problems."

Asked by reporters about the new U.S. measure, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China’s position had consistently been to respect the sovereignty and independence of other countries and not to interfere in their internal affairs. "The present problem in Venezuela should be resolved by the Venezuelan government and people themselves."

“The experience of history shows that outside interference or unilateral sanctions will make the situation even more complicated and will not help resolve the actual problem,” Hua told the daily news briefing.

Oil pumps in Lake Maracaibo, Lagunillas, in the state of Zulia, Venezuela

As discussed on previous occasions, China and Venezuela have extensive business links, with oil being the largest, where the countries have a multi-billion loan-for-oil deal, which assures Beijing of obtaining Venezuela crude at below market prices.

Earlier in August, China said it believed voting in Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly election was “generally held smoothly”, brushing off widespread condemnation from the United States, Europe and others and evidence of voting irregularities, as China wishes to remain on Maduro's good side due to concerns that a public uprising and/or revolution would void its billions in loans made to the current regime which Venezuela has been repaying in barrels of crude. As Reuters reported recently, Venezuela owes China more than $62 billion and is behind in the oil shipments. The Maduro regime similarly owes Russia billions in loans under a similar arrangement.

Many analysts have said the loans from China and Russia have prevented Venezuela from default. Earlier this month, Russian oil major Rosneft announced that it paid $6 billion to Venezuela’s PDVSA as an up-front payment for oil from the country. In November 2016, Rosneft received a 49.9% stake in a Venezuelan-owned American refiner and transportation fuels Citgo as collateral.

American lawmakers have said the Russian stake is a big problem for US national security and sent a warning letter to President Donald Trump. For now, just like Goldman, Trump has exempted Citgo from the recent round of sanctions. The White House has explained it as an attempt “to mitigate harm to the American and Venezuelan people.” In April, media reported that Citgo gave $500,000 to President Trump's inauguration committee through a subsidiary.