Venezuela's Maduro heads to China for state visit

Caracas, Sep 12 (EFE).- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro left here Wednesday for China with a mission to reach new bilateral accords in areas such as trade, finance and energy.

"I'm on my way to the People's Republic of China for an important state visit, very timely and full of great expectations, very positive for Venezuela," Maduro said in a nationally broadcast speech before his departure.

The journey will serve to "advance on new strategic partnership accords in the economic, trade, energy, financial, technological and communication fields," Maduro said.

The trip to China comes amid a continuing economic crisis in oil-rich Venezuela characterized by hyper-inflation and shortages and aggravated by US sanctions against the leftist government in Caracas.

"Conditions are better now, we've activated the plan for economic recovery, growth and prosperity," Maduro said, referring to a package of pay raises, price controls and tax increases implemented late last month.

"I leave with great expectations and we'll see each other in a few days with big accomplishments," he said.