Xi visits Chavez mausoleum

China's President Xi Jinping (C) visits the mausoleum of Venezuela's late president Hugo Chavez in Caracas July 21, 2014. Venezuela's vice president Jorge Arreaza and Chavez's daughter Maria Virginia Chavez are standing next to Xi.

President Xi Jinping visited Hugo Chavez's mausoleum on Monday and described the late Venezuelan president as a "great friend of the Chinese people".

Chavez was "a charismatic leader" and "a good friend of mine," Xi said.

He recalled that Chavez was fond of Chinese culture, had a deep understanding of the Communist Party of China's history and governance philosophy, and made outstanding contributions to China-Venezuela ties.

Xi said he remembers his two meetings with Chavez vividly and that the Chinese people cherish the memory of the leader, who died last year at age 58.

"I am glad to see that the Venezuelan government and people have carried on his cause, and I believe you will continue to make progress in building the country," he added.

Accompanying Xi at the mausoleum in the capital, Caracas, was Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Arreaza, who said Chavez had sincere and friendly feelings for China and attached great importance to China-Venezuela relations.

"The best way to commemorate him would be to inherit his will and continue to deepen the friendship between our countries," Arreaza said.

Also present were Chavez's daughter Rosa and a number of ministers and senior military commanders.