Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was due to meet his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, on the first full day of a visit to Beijing he said would reinforce a friendship built on oil.
The flamboyant Latin American leader arrived in the Chinese capital late Tuesday stating he would pursue three "concrete objectives of great strategic significance," all related to energy trade, during his three-day visit.
They include a strengthening of the Chinese presence in the Venezuelan oil sector, the construction of Venezuelan refineries on Chinese soil, and the establishment of an oil transport joint venture, he said.
"In themselves, these projects are more than enough to justify my visit to China," he told reporters at the start of his sixth visit here since coming to power a decade ago.
China imported 380,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela at the end of 2008, Chavez said, adding he wanted to expand this to one million barrels by 2013.
Venezuela is the biggest oil producer in Latin America and fast-modernising China, with its 1.3 billion people, is on a global quest to secure energy supplies.
While oil is the dominant theme in the two nations' relationship, it has been expanding into other areas during Chavez's leftist administration.
When Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited Venezuela in February, the two nations signed 12 agreements and doubled an investment fund to 12 billion dollars.
Bilateral trade peaked last year at more than 10 billion dollars, according to Venezuelan figures, and corporate China is making inroads into the Latin American country.
In one example of the growing business ties, agreements signed during Xi's visit stretched from a mobile phone factory to an assembly plant for household appliances and a farm venture.
Last year, Venezuela launched its first geostationary satellite thanks to cooperation with China.
Military ties have also expanded. Venezuela recently purchased a fleet of 18 K-8 reconnaissance and training aircraft from China with delivery expected in January 2010.
Chavez, whose global tour has also taken him to Qatar, Iran and Japan, spoke at the start of the China leg of a "new world order".
"A new world equilibrium is being born, a new world order, the multi-polar world of which we have long dreamed," said Chavez, a vocal critic of the US role in international affairs.
"The power of the US empire is at an end... and by contrast other poles of global power are emerging, Beijing, Tokyo, Tehran."
Meanwhile, his Chinese hosts appeared keen to play down any implications that the developing relationship with Venezuela might have for the United States.
Seeking closer ties with Latin America "aims at no one," said Wu Guoping, a professor of Latin American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, according to the state-controlled China Daily newspaper.
"In the age of globalisation, a viewpoint like 'Who is within whose sphere of influence?' doesn't stand," Wu told the paper.
Chavez was due to meet Hu late on Wednesday afternoon, then hold talks with Xi on Thursday.