China says US should bear consequences of Venezuela sanctions

The headquarters of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA in Caracas, Venezuela on Jan 28, 2019.
The headquarters of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA in Caracas, Venezuela on Jan 28, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - The United States should bear responsibility for the consequences of its sanctions on Venezuela, China said on Tuesday (Jan 29), after Washington imposed sweeping restrictions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA.

The latest US sanctions announced on Monday appear to be aimed at pressuring President Nicolas Maduro to step down and to build on the momentum that has mounted in recent weeks against him at home and abroad.

Mr Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader who proclaimed himself interim president last week with US backing, and who is supported by most Western countries, says Mr Maduro stole his re-election and must resign to allow new, fair polls.

China has said it opposes unilateral sanctions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said historical experience showed foreign interference "only makes situations more complicated".

"The relevant country's sanctions on Venezuela will lead to the deterioration of conditions of people's lives," Mr Geng told a regular news briefing in Beijing, referring to the United States.

"They should bear responsibility for the serious consequences from this," he said.


China has lent more than US$50 billion (S$67.6 billion) to Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements over the past decade, securing energy supplies for its fast-growing economy.

But the financing dried up as the South American country's economy began spiralling downwards in 2015, pressured by plummeting oil prices.

The Trump administration had long held off targeting Venezuela's oil sector for fear that it would hurt US refiners and raise oil prices for Americans.

White House officials had also expressed concern about inflicting further hardship on the Venezuelan people.