Xi says China will play 'constructive role' on Venezuela

FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Pool/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will work with the international community to play a constructive role with Venezuela and help the country to get back on a normal development path as soon as possible, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Russian media.

Oil-rich Venezuela is locked in a political and economic crisis. Opposition leader Juan Guaido invoked Venezuela’s constitution in January to assume the interim presidency, saying President Nicolas Maduro’s reelection was not legitimate.

Most Western countries have since backed Guaido as head of state but Maduro retains the support of China and Russia.

Xi told TASS news agency and Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper that China opposes foreign interference, unilateral sanctions, the use of force, or threats of the use of force, when it came to Venezuela.

“China is willing to work with the international community to play a positive and constructive role on the Venezuela issue,” Xi said, according to a transcript published by China’s Foreign Ministry ahead of his arrival in Russia on Wednesday.

China was also willing to “help Venezuela return to a normal development path as soon as possible”, he said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait