Venezuela to launch Chinese-made satellite, says Chavez

18 Aug 2008

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) Venezuela will soon launch its first satellite from China, cementing ties with its Asian ally and boosting Venezuelan independence, President Hugo Chavez said.

The Chinese-made satellite, to be launched from China's southwestern Sichuan province on November 1, will cover several Latin American nations, Chavez said on his weekly television program.

The project will make Venezuela self-sufficient in television, internet and other communication transmissions, he said.

Venezuela intends to launch a second satellite in coming years and is looking in the near-term to buy Chinese-made K-8 military planes, which are mainly for training, Chavez said.

His oil-producing country has benefited from high crude prices, permitting a series of military purchases including Russian-made fighter jets, helicopters and assault rifles.

Chavez thanked China during his broadcast from a Venezuelan air base, where officials have already set up a control room and antennas to guide the satellite once in orbit. He said he plans to visit Beijing in September to boost the two nations' 'strategic alliance.'

China's ambassador to Caracas Zhang Tuo called the satellite project, named for South American independence hero Simon Bolivar, 'an example of cooperation' that Beijing hopes to deepen.

© 2008 The Associated Press

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