Venezuela's Maduro meets China's Xi on trip to deepen ties

BEIJING (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is to meet with the president of China, one of his ailing country's biggest creditors, during a trip to deepen ties.

China's foreign ministry said Maduro is to meet with Xi Jinping on Friday, as well as with Premier Li Keqiang and the head of the ceremonial legislature, Li Zhanshu.

Maduro said before leaving Venezuela on Wednesday that his agenda includes advancing commercial, energy and financial deals with China, whose economic backing has been crucial to his government.

Bloomberg News cited Venezuela's finance minister as saying China had agreed to extend Venezuela a $5 billion credit line.

China has provided Venezuela with loans, cash and investment in the last decade totaling more than $65 billion. Venezuela's inflation is expected to hit 1 million percent this year.