According to the Russian expert, even before taking office, Donald Trump regarded China as the main economic and political opponent of the United States. The US-China trade war is only one aspect of this geopolitical confrontation; Matveychev believes the Trump administration hopes to undermine China's interests in the world's energy markets.
The expert recalled that both Iran and Venezuela are working closely with China in the oil sector. China's energy security largely depends on these countries, as Beijing is a major investor in their oil production and a major importer of their raw materials.
In September, Maduro announced that Venezuela intends to increase their oil supply to China to 1 million barrels per day. In other words, their intention was to triple oil exports to China. He also limited the doubling of their domestic oil production to one year — by 20 August 2019.
In Beijing, China and Venezuela signed 28 cooperation agreements, most of which involve crude oil processing, energy engineering and mining. Venezuela also announced the sale of a 9.9% stake in Sinovensa, a joint venture between the two countries, to China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). After the transaction is completed, China will control 49% of the joint venture.
Oleg Matveychev believes that the current US-backed Venezuelan power struggle poses a great risk to China's interests in the country.
"Of course, there will be some intricate moves against China, including some games on the world oil market. The Americans know how to manipulate oil to seek their own political interests.
Chavez was a real headache for them, and now they have the chance to get payback. Chavez nationalized the oil industry and hit US interests. US control of Venezuelan oil would cause Venezuela to suffer some losses because the latter has signed a series of transactions and agreements with China.
It's necessary to compensate for those losses. This certainly wouldn't benefit Venezuela or its citizens. However, it would be good for the Americans; and that's what their aim is."
On Friday, 25 January, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a second response to the Venezuelan incident in two days. This indirectly confirms China's serious concern about the growing risks it faces in the country, with its large oil reserves.
Hua Chunying also pointed out that "China advocates that all countries abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, especially those of non-intervention in countries' internal affairs, respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and threat of force."
The Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson noted that China believes that Venezuela's affairs must also be chosen and decided by the Venezuelan people themselves. "China calls on all parties to respect the choice of the Venezuelan people and support the parties in seeking a political solution through peaceful dialogue within the framework of the Venezuelan Constitution," she said.
The views and opinions expressed by the contributor do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.