Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday concluded the meetings of his first state visit to China since he succeeded the late Hugo Chavez, the architect of Caracas' close links with Beijing.

Maduro, who met earlier with Chinese President Xi Jinping, was received on Monday by Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

Venezuela and China have "modern," mutually advantageous relations, Maduro said, pointing to the 27 accords signed during his visit.

The pacts, in areas such as energy, mining, infrastructure, agriculture and finance, include the granting of a $5 billion loan that will be used to improve various sectors in Venezuela.

The accords continue along the course set by Chavez, who died in March of cancer, and guarantee that Venezuelan companies will continue to supply the Asian giant with about a quarter of the crude oil that Caracas exports.

Maduro's visit is considered to be a barometer of post-Chavez bilateral relations.

The high-level meetings and the number of accords signed seem to indicate that relations are in good shape and that Beijing is continuing its support for Chavez's successor.

Li on Monday assured Maduro in front of reporters that, under his mandate, "Venezuela is also on the road toward sustainable development."

"In recent years, we've seen continuous development in relations between China and Venezuela," the prime minister added.

Maduro's visit is "significant" and - by inviting him to Beijing - Chinese authorities "have given their backing" to the Venezuelan president, Francisco Nieto, director of Georgetown University's Center for Latin American Studies, told Efe.

The signal that Beijing is sending to the world, Nieto says, is that "Maduro is firmly in power," something that "about which there had been many doubts at first." EFE