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China says hopes world provides 'constructive' help to Venezuela

China says hopes world provides 'constructive' help to Venezuela
A demonstrator throws a stone at a line of Venezuelan national guards at the border in Pacaraima, Brazil February 24, 2019. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes -
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RICARDO MORAES(Reuters)
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China hopes that the international community can provide "constructive" help to Venezuela based on respect for the country's sovereignty, the foreign ministry said on Monday, after Venezuelan troops repelled foreign aid convoys.

Violent clashes between security forces and a U.S.-backed opposition attempt on Saturday to bring aid into the economically devastated country left almost 300 wounded and at least three protesters dead near the Brazilian border.

The United States has threatened new sanctions and Brazil has urged allies to join a "liberation effort".

China hopes Venezuela can remain peaceful and calm, the Foreign Ministry said, and reiterated Beijing's opposition to foreign interference in Venezuela's internal affairs or the use of "so-called 'humanitarian aid' for political aims".

"We again call on the government and opposition in Venezuela to seek a political resolution under the framework of the constitution and law, and call on the international community to do more that really benefits Venezuela's stability, economic development and improvement in livelihoods," the ministry said.

China "hopes the international community can provide constructive help to Venezuela under the precondition of respecting Venezuela's sovereignty," it added.

Juan Guaido, recognised by most Western nations as Venezuela's legitimate leader, has urged foreign powers to consider "all options" in ousting President Nicolas Maduro, ahead of a meeting of the regional Lima Group of nations in Bogota on Monday that will be attended by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Maduro retains the backing of both Russia and China.

Beijing has lent more than $50 billion to Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements over the past decade, securing energy supplies for its fast-growing economy.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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