August 15, 2006

Chavez plans trip to include visit to China

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez said on Tuesday he is planning a trip that will include
stops in China and Angola as he seeks to distance Venezuela
from the United States and lobby for a seat on the United
Nations Security Council.

Chavez, who promises a socialist revolution in his
oil-producing nation, has been a thorn in the side of the
United States by boosting ties with the rulers of Iran and

"Within a few days now I'll be going to China, an important
visit to China," Chavez announced in a speech.

A posting on a government Web site said Chavez was planning
to visit Malaysia, China and Angola between August 21 and
September 1. It was not clear if the trip would include other
stops and the foreign ministry declined to provide details.

Chavez this month completed a two-week tour that included
stops in Argentina, Belarus, Russia, Qatar, Iran, Vietnam, Mali
and Benin to sign energy and military cooperation deals and
garner support for Venezuela's U.N. Security Council bid.

It was not clear whether Chavez would visit North Korea,
which was dropped from the itinerary of his last trip. But
Chavez said last month he had received an invitation from
Pyongyang and planned to visit the secretive communist state.

Venezuelans broadly support their leftist leader for
spending billions of dollars in oil revenue on social
development programs. But critics say he has shown and
authoritarian streak and the United States sees him as a threat
to regional stability.

Chavez regularly accuses the United States of meddling in
the affairs of other nations and recently withdrew Venezuela's
envoy in Jerusalem to protest Israel's bombing of Lebanon.