By Tom O'Connor
April 03, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - China has defended Russia's recent deployment of troops to Venezuela amid U.S. statements suggesting Moscow and Beijing had no right to support a Latin American government disavowed by Washington.
The U.S. has attempted to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro by supporting opposition-controlled National Assembly head Juan Guaidó, who declared himself acting president earlier this year in a political challenge to the country's socialist leader. While Washington has secured support from a number of allies, Beijing and Moscow were among those backing Maduro. Over the weekend, Russian troops were seen disembarking military aircraft at Caracas’s international airport to attend what a diplomatic source as described as "bilateral consultations" to Russia's state-run Sputnik News.
White House national security adviser John Bolton tweeted Monday that the U.S. "will not tolerate hostile foreign military powers meddling" within the Western Hemisphere. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Washington "will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela," according to State Department.
Asked about these developments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a press briefing Tuesday that "countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Latin American countries, are all sovereign states," so "they have the right to determine their own foreign policy and their way to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation with countries of their own choosing."
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