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Cuban official's visit expected to bolster links

中国日报网 2013-06-18 10:10

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Cuban First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel's trip to China is expected to strengthen ties between the new leaderships of both countries, according to Chinese analysts.

Diaz-Canel, who was appointed in February, arrived in Beijing on Monday for the first stop on his maiden Asian trip.

He is scheduled to meet top Chinese leaders and see some Cuban firms during his stay.

Vice-President Li Yuanchao, with a welcoming ceremony that featured a 21-gun salute, urged the two nations to enhance mutual political trust.

"China-Cuba relations have entered a new stage of all-round development. We should promote mutually beneficial cooperation and cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries," Li said.

Diaz-Canel said Cuba has a traditional friendship with China, resulting in Beijing being the first stop on his Asian trip. He said the trip will further enhance the good relations between the two countries and their peoples.

"Cuba attaches strategic importance to the relations with China, and we want to constantly enhance the cooperation with China in many fields such as trade, culture, education and technology," he said.

Liu Yuqin, a researcher of Latin American studies at the China Foundation for International Studies and a former Chinese ambassador to Cuba, Ecuador and Chile, said more high-level contact is good for both countries.

President Xi Jinping visited Cuba in 2011 when he was vice-president, while Cuban President Raul Castro visited Beijing in 2012.

Liu said economic cooperation between China and Cuba has been very close. China is Cuba’s second-largest trading partner, while Cuba is the largest trade partner for China among all Caribbean countries.

"Business cooperation with China is very important for Cuba during its economic reform. We worked together on developing local technology and China has considerable experience in agriculture, which is longed for by Cuba," Liu said.

By holding the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States this year, Cuba can play a highly important role in building a better relationship between China and Latin American countries, she said.

Yang Jianmin, an expert at the center for Cuban studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said a visit to China is essential for Diaz-Canel, who is expected to be the next Cuban leader.

"Cuba is undergoing economic reforms ... China has tremendous experiences that Cuba can borrow from. Knowing more about China's economic reform is very important for him," he said.

Yang also said Diaz-Canel has been very active as Cuba's first vice-president as Havana seeks to build the image of its next leadership through international activities such as his Asian trip.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Lance Crayon is a videographer and editor with China Daily. Since living in Beijing he has worked for China Radio International (CRI) and Global Times. Before moving to China he worked in the film industry in Los Angeles as a talent agent and producer. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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