|China's President Hu Jintao and Fidel Castro, president of the Council of State wave during their meeting at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, November 22, 2004. Hu Jintao is in Cuba on an official two-day visit. (Reuters photo)|
Chinese President Hu Jintao
and Fidel Castro, president of the Cuban Council of State, agreed to expand bilateral cooperation in political, economic and other areas on Monday in Havana.
Hu Jintao arrived here Monday afternoon for a state visit. He met with Castro soon after his arrival and they agreed to work together to expand mutually-beneficial cooperation.
China and Cuba established full diplomatic relations in 1960. Hu said in the meeting with Castro that China-Cuba relationship has withstood the test of time and the change of international situation.
"We have helped each other and treated each other with sincerity," Hu said. "We are friends and brothers. A better relationship between China and Cuba will serve not only interests of our two countries, but also world peace and common development."
Hu proposed that China and Cuba increase exchange of visits by leaders of the government, the parliament, political parties, and non-governmental institutions.
China and Cuba can also expand cooperation in areas of tourism, aquatic products and bio-technology, Hu said.
In addition, China and Cuba can strengthen cooperation in international arenas to safeguard the interests of the developing nations and world peace, said the Chinese president.
Two-way trade between China and Cuba has been about 400 million US dollars annually over the past three years. The trade volume reached 401 million dollars from January to September this year, up 36.7 percent.
China mainly imports sugar and nickel from Cuba and exports machinery and electronic products to Cuba.
Castro told Hu that he has paid great attention to China's development and been reading a lot about China lately. He said he was glad to see China's fast growth and the expansion of Cuba-China cooperation.
Castro said he agreed with Hu's proposals. He said Cuba hopes to purchase about one million more color TV sets from China as the 1.3 million sets Cuba previously imported from China were "very good" in quality.
Hu briefed Castro about China's socio-economic development and China's new development strategy characterized by the concept of human first and balanced and sustainable development.
Castro listened attentively and raised questions now and again.
Following their conversation, China and Cuba signed a number of agreements on their cooperation in plant quarantine, bio-technology, education and economy.
Cuba is the last leg of Hu's Latin America trip. Previously he visited Brazil, Argentina and Chile, where he attended the annual APEC leaders' meeting.