Following a war of words with the U.S. after being denied permission to fly over Puerto Rico, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro signed agreements with China that are meant to strengthen economic ties between the South American nation and its leading creditor.

President Maduro told his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that the main goal of his trip was to further consolidate and expand the strategic partnership between the two countries that late President Hugo Chávez began with Chinese leaders. Chávez died in March after 14 years in power.

The two leaders signed 12 agreements on Sunday, including ones related to a finance fund deal, education, and a joint development between Chinese state-owned oil producer Sinopec and Venezuela's national oil company. They also signed a cooperation and exchange agreement between China's space flight administration and Venezuela's science and innovation ministry relating to remote satellites. No details were given on any of the agreements.

We want to put forth great effort to develop our production industries and at the same time solidify our 21st century socialist foundation.

- Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

Maduro told Xi that Venezuela was in an important phase of economic transformation and wanted to diversify its economic structure.

"We want to put forth great effort to develop our production industries and at the same time solidify our 21st century socialist foundation," Maduro said.

He said he believed these goals could be realized this decade through exchanges and current and future cooperative projects between the two countries.

Xi called Maduro "China's good friend" and said his visit would propel bilateral relations "to new heights."

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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