LONG GAME: China Talks With Venezuela Opposition to Protect Investments. “Chinese diplomats discuss debt, oil projects with Guaidó camp as pressure mounts against ally Maduro.”
Chinese diplomats, worried over the future of its oil projects in Venezuela and nearly $20 billion that Caracas owes Beijing, have held debt negotiations in Washington in recent weeks with representatives of Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader heading the U.S.-backed efforts to oust Mr. Maduro, according to people familiar with the talks.
“China recognizes the increasing risk of a regime change and does not want to be on the bad side of a new regime,” said R. Evan Ellis, an expert on Chinese relations in Latin America at the U.S. Army War College. “While they prefer stability, they realize they have to put eggs in the other basket.”
The talks are a sign of the apprehensions building with creditors of Venezuela’s leftist government. Over nearly two decades, loans-for-oil deals with China and Russia have provided vital support for Venezuela. Relations flourished under Mr. Maduro’s predecessor, the late socialist strongman Hugo Chávez, who fortified ties with those countries, Cuba, Iran and even India in an effort to combat U.S. power.
It wonder what kind of guarantees Guaidó Might accept in exchange for the threat of balking on the Chavista debts to Beijing. They might be worth it, to gain additional leverage in trade talks with China.