China against forcefully sending aid to Venezuela

February 23,2019

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BEIJING: China said Friday it was against forcefully sending "so-called humanitarian assistance" to Venezuela, warning it could spark conflict in the crisis-torn country. China has loaned billions to Venezuela and has remained committed to President Nicolas Maduro even as the country has fallen deeper into economic crisis.

Foreign aid mostly from the US has piled up on Venezuela´s borders as the Maduro government refuses to let it into the country. "If the so-called humanitarian assistance were forcefully sent to Venezuela it might trigger conflict and lead to serious consequences," said China´s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. "This is not what anyone wants to see," Geng said.

"China is against a military intervention in Venezuela and against any behaviour that might cause escalation or turmoil," he told reporters. Opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido has vowed to bring aid in from various points Saturday "one way or another" despite military efforts to block it.

Shipments of food and medicine for Venezuelans suffering in the country´s economic crisis have become a focus of the power struggle between Maduro and Guaido. "We have noticed recently the Venezuelan government has been level-headed and exercised restraint to safeguard domestic peace and stability and effectively prevented large-scale conflict," Geng said.

Venezuela´s military said it is on alert at its frontiers and has closed border crossings and suspended air and sea links with the nearby island of Curacao ahead of the expected aid shipment.

The White House said Vice President Mike Pence would visit neighbouring Colombia on Monday in a show of support for Guaido.The US has repeatedly said "all options," including military, are on the table.


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