Kejal Vyas at the Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell yesterday with this article on China's position on Venezuelan debt. He argues that China sees Venezuela as increasingly dangerous for its citizens and increasingly such a bad credit risk that it won't throw good money after bad.
China’s envoy in Caracas conveyed concerns over security and Venezuela’s debt repayment during emergency meetings held between April and June with dozens of representatives from Chinese state companies, according to four officials from Chinese companies.
“The consensus was that no new money was going to be invested,” said one of the officials. “There was a clear message from up top: Let them fall,” said the official. He said Chinese companies were moving employees to Colombia and Panama for personal-safety reasons and because many Chinese-led projects have ground to a halt.
Whew! I talked in my U.S.-Latin American relations class today about how there has often been concern about the political implications of Chinese investment in Latin America, but that China often acts strictly business-like. It doesn't want influence in Venezuela or ideological togetherness. It wants oil and cash. The real concern is that China gets sick of Venezuelan debt and leaves a huge mess that will rock the region, thus also precipitating some sort of U.S. response.