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Cuban official's visit expected to bolster links

(China Daily)

08:13, June 18, 2013

Vice-President Li Yuanchao and Cuban First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel review the guard of honor in Beijing on Monday. Xu Jingxing / China Daily

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.

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