Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez revealed in a televised broadcast on Sunday that he plans to purchase 24 K-8 combat and training aircrafts from China "to train fighter pilots," the Agence France-Presse reported. The planes could be part of Venezuela's air force by next year.
Chavez plans to make the purchases when he visits Beijing this week, as part of a six-country tour which also includes a stop in Moscow.
The Venezuelan leader also confirmed plans for the construction of tanker vessels in Chinese shipyards, along with an oil refinery in China with the aim of creating a binational company to further expand Venezuela’s oil production and output.
Currently, Caracas provides Beijing with 500,000 barrels of oil per day — a number that is expected to increase to 1 million barrels a day by 2012, the AFP reported.
Chavez and China are in the workings of a $6 billion bilateral investment fund in which China will contribute $4 billion and Venezuela $2 billion. Chavez said he intends to use the fund for "socialist productive projects,” according to the AFP.
"Before we had to go to Washington to beg for money," Chavez said. "Not now. Now we negotiate with the Chinese."