Venezuela's Maduro meets China's Xi amid hopes for new lifeline for recession-stricken economy

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro is meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping amid hopes for new loans to bolster the South American nation's stricken economy.

Xi reiterated the importance of relations during talks between the two leaders in Beijing on Wednesday.

He said the countries would deepen cooperation in all areas.

There was no immediate word on new Chinese loans, although Maduro said Sunday he would discuss Venezuela's oil-for-loans agreements with Xi, along with economic, education and technology projects.

China is Venezuela's largest creditor and has loaned it more than $40 billion over the past five years.

Venezuela is struggling with the world's highest inflation rate, a recession and a cash crunch brought about partly by a steep fall in the price of oil.