The recent state visit to China by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez was significant on a number of levels.
It was the first state visit from Latin America and the Caribbean following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, highlighting the special importance of relations between socialist countries. An article in the Global Times pointedly remarked: “China-Cuba relations have become a model of socialist countries to unite and cooperate and of developing countries to sincerely assist each other. This is beyond the comprehension of the arrogant and narrow-minded US and Western elites.” It is notable in this regard that the first national leader to visit China after the 20th Congress was Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
Xi Jinping classified the relations between Cuba and China as being “an exemplar of solidarity and cooperation between socialist countries,” adding:
No matter how the international situation may change, China’s commitment to long-term friendship with Cuba will not change. China’s determination to support Cuba in pursuing socialism will not change. China’s will to work with Cuba to safeguard international fairness and justice and oppose hegemony and power politics will not change.
Congratulating the CPC on the successful conclusion of its 20th Congress, Díaz-Canel stated that he greatly appreciates “the theoretical and practical contributions made by Xi Jinping’s leadership in the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, which we Cubans consider a true stimulus for all progressive forces.”
The relationship between the two countries goes back a long way. Xi Jinping observed that Cuba was the first country in the Western hemisphere to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, shortly after the victory of the Cuban Revolution. A report from Granma – the official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba – notes that, a few months later, in November 1960, “a Cuban delegation, headed by Ernesto Che Guevara, visited the Asian giant, and from that moment economic, scientific and technological cooperation agreements, and bilateral trade agreements were born.”
Díaz-Canel’s visit had a specific importance in light of the economic difficulties Cuba is currently experiencing – the product of the tightening of the US’s criminal blockade on the island, compounded by the impact of Covid-19 (and consequent reduction in tourism income) and a sequence of natural disasters and accidents. The numerous investment agreements signed, the renegotiation and restructuring of Cuba’s debt to China, and the donation by China of 100 million US dollars will serve to create much-needed breathing space for the Cuban economy.
Xi Jinping commented: “Currently, comrades in Cuba are confronted with great challenges. But the cause of socialism always advances through surmounting difficulties. China firmly believes that comrades in Cuba will overcome all difficulties, and China will do its best to provide support and assistance.”
China also took the opportunity to reiterate its whole-hearted opposition to the US blockade on Cuba:
China firmly supports the just struggle of the Cuban people to defend their national sovereignty and oppose foreign interference and blockade. The erroneous practice of a small number of countries indiscriminately imposing unilateral sanctions, cutting off development assistance, and freezing legal assets of other countries must be corrected.
We are pleased to reproduce below the Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Cuba on Deepening China-Cuba Relations in the New Era, along with a selection of articles from Chinese and Cuban media.
Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Cuba on Deepening China-Cuba Relations in the New Era
Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China (machine-translated from Chinese)
At the invitation of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and President Xi Jinping, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and President of Cuba, addressed the Chinese people from November 24 to 26, 2022 on a state visit.
During the visit, General Secretary Xi Jinping held cordial talks with First Secretary and President Díaz-Canel, reflecting the close friendship between the two parties, governments and peoples. Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Li Zhanshu met with Diaz-Canel respectively.
Comrade Diaz-Canel conveyed the greetings and congratulations of General Raúl Castro to Comrade Xi Jinping. Comrade Xi Jinping expressed his gratitude and asked him to convey his regards to General Raul Castro. The two heads of state spoke highly of the traditional friendship between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Cuba (hereinafter referred to as “both parties”). The China-Cuba friendship was forged by the older generations of leaders of the two countries represented by Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro. Cuba established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1960, becoming the first country in the Western Hemisphere to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. The two heads of state expressed satisfaction with the development of China-Cuba relations and the fruitful results of bilateral cooperation in various fields since the establishment of diplomatic relations 62 years ago. China-Cuba relations have become a model of solidarity and cooperation among socialist countries and sincere mutual assistance among developing countries.
The two heads of state emphasized that both China and Cuba are socialist countries, and both firmly uphold sovereignty, independence, national unity and national dignity, have always adhered to the socialist road with their own characteristics, and have made major achievements.
The two heads of state exchanged in-depth views on the relationship between the two parties and the two countries and international and regional issues of common concern. They expressed that they will continue to promote the implementation of the important consensus reached. Visits and political dialogues, promote exchanges at all levels and cooperation in various fields, make good use of various cooperation mechanisms, continue to deepen the special friendly relationship between China and Cuba in the new era, and join hands in building a community with a shared future for mankind in the process of promoting the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind.
1. The Cuban side warmly congratulates the complete success of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The First Secretary of Diaz-Canel and the President warmly congratulated Comrade Xi Jinping on his election as General Secretary of the 20th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The Cuban side believes that the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is of great historical significance to the development of the Communist Party of China and China, and the results of the congress will become a new driving force for all progressive forces in the world to move forward. Gu Fang believes that Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is a milestone in the modernization of Marxism in China, and firmly believes that under the leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping, the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people will continue to achieve new greatness in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era Achievement.
2. The Cuban side warmly congratulates and highly appreciates the great transformation of China in the new era in the past ten years, and once again congratulates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. We firmly believe that the Communist Party of China will unite and lead the people of all ethnic groups in the country to build a great socialist modernized country in an all-round way, realize the second centenary goal, and comprehensively promote the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with Chinese-style modernization.
3. China once again warmly congratulates the successful convening of the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, speaks highly of the new achievements made by the previous plenary sessions since the Eighth National Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, and highly admires the Cuban Communist Party for uniting and leading the Cuban people to overcome difficulties and forge ahead. We firmly believe that Cuba will be able to Overcome all difficulties and obstacles on the way forward, realize the new development of the socialist cause, and realize the goal of building a socialist country that is sovereign, independent, democratic, prosperous, and sustainable.
4. China and Cuba are good friends, good comrades and good brothers. In the face of the epidemic of the century and the changes of the century, the two countries should commit themselves to being fellow travelers of socialism, good partners of common development, and good comrades in arms of strategic coordination. The Chinese side attaches great importance to the development of China-Cuba relations, and will unswervingly deepen the fraternal friendship, unswervingly carry out mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation, and unswervingly be a partner of reform and development. No matter how the international situation changes, China’s policy of adhering to the long-term friendship between China and Cuba will not change, its determination to support Cuba in taking the road of socialism will not change, and the direction of promoting China-Cuba practical cooperation will not change.
5. China and Cuba are good examples of fighting the epidemic together. In the face of the epidemic, the leaders of the two countries have maintained political dialogue at all levels, helped each other, put the protection of people’s health and life safety at the center of their work, and provided support and assistance to the international community in fighting the epidemic.
6. The Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of Cuba are the leadership cores of their respective socialist causes. The two parties are willing to continue to strengthen institutionalized exchanges, strengthen exchanges on carrying out socialist construction in line with their respective national conditions, learn from each other, constantly enrich the connotation of exchanges, and provide strong political support for the comprehensive and in-depth development of China-Cuba relations.
7. The Cuban side reaffirms its firm position of unconditionally adhering to the one-China principle, and recognizes that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory; it emphasizes that the Taiwan issue is China’s internal affair, and no party has the right to interfere. The Cuban side resolutely opposes any attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs by using the Taiwan issue, and firmly supports all efforts made by the Chinese government to realize national reunification.
8. The embargo has severely damaged the Cuban people’s right to survival and development. China firmly supports the just struggle of the Cuban people to defend national sovereignty and oppose foreign interference and blockade. The erroneous practice of a small number of countries indiscriminately imposing unilateral sanctions, cutting off development assistance, and freezing legal assets of other countries must be corrected. China supports the end of the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.
9. The two sides agreed that Xinjiang-related issues are not human rights issues at all, but issues of countering violence, terrorism, radicalization and separatism. Cuba firmly opposes interference in China’s internal affairs on the pretext of Xinjiang-related issues.
10. The two sides agreed that it is necessary to proceed from the reality of the country and explore a human rights development path that meets the needs of the people. They firmly oppose the politicization, instrumentalization and double standards of human rights issues, and firmly oppose the imposition of their own will and standards on other countries.
11. The two sides agreed to deepen high-quality cooperation in the joint construction of the “Belt and Road”, implement cooperation plans, and strengthen cooperation in areas of common concern such as biotechnology, renewable energy, health, economy, trade, finance, and cyber security, so as to help Cuba effectively integrate initiative to benefit the two countries and the two peoples. China will continue to provide support and assistance to Cuba within its capacity, for which Cuba is grateful.
12. The two sides agreed that at present, changes in the world, times and history are unfolding in an unprecedented way. The Cuban side agrees with China’s common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom for all mankind, and is willing to work with China to safeguard the international system with the United Nations as the core, the international order based on international law, and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Basic principles of international relations, against all hegemony and power politics, against all forms of unilateralism, against camps and exclusive cliques targeting specific countries, committed to building a new type of international relations, and deepening and expanding equality, openness, and cooperation We will jointly promote world peace and development, and jointly promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
13. The Cuban side supports the global development initiative proposed by the Chinese side, and is willing to strengthen relevant cooperation with the Chinese side under mechanisms such as the “Group of Friends” and the Group of 77, to promote the deepening and solid implementation of the initiative, and to jointly implement the UN’s 2030 sustainable development goals . Cuba supports the global security initiative proposed by China, and is willing to further strengthen the alignment of strategies with China and work together to promote the implementation of the initiative.
14. The two sides advocate the practice of genuine multilateralism, promote the democratization of international relations, and promote the development of global governance in a more just and reasonable direction. China congratulates Cuba on its election as the presidency of the Group of 77 in 2023, and supports Cuba in playing a leading role in uniting and leading the Group of 77 to deepen strategic coordination with China and safeguard the common interests of member states.
15. The two sides agreed that data security is critical to the security of all countries and economic and social development. Cuba supports the “Global Data Security Initiative” proposed by China, and the two sides are willing to use this as a basis to promote the formulation of global digital governance rules.
16. The Chinese side is willing to communicate and cooperate closely with the Cuban side to help the China-CELAC Forum continue to achieve new developments, and jointly promote the steady and long-term development of China-CELAC relations in the new era featuring equality, mutual benefit, innovation, openness, and benefit to the people.
17. The two heads of state expressed satisfaction with the series of outcome documents signed by the two sides during the visit.
18. The First Secretary and President of Diaz-Canel expressed his heartfelt thanks to General Secretary Xi Jinping, the President of the State, the Chinese government and people for their warm and friendly reception during the visit, and welcomed General Secretary Xi Jinping and President Xi Jinping to visit Cuba again.
Xi holds talks with Cuban president
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese president, held talks Friday with Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) and Cuban president, at the Great Hall of the People during his state visit to China.
Xi pointed out that President Diaz-Canel is the first head of state from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to visit China after the 20th CPC National Congress, and it speaks volumes about the special and friendly relations between the two parties and two countries.
“Cuba was the first country in the Western hemisphere to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, and China-Cuba relations have become an example of solidarity and cooperation between socialist countries and sincere mutual assistance between developing countries,” Xi said.
China is ready to work with Cuba to deepen political mutual trust, expand practical cooperation, firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests, strengthen coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs, move forward together in building socialism with national characteristics, and continuously deepen China-Cuba relations in the new era, Xi said.
Xi expounded on the key outcomes of the 20th CPC National Congress. He stressed that the CPC is leading the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.
He said sustained efforts will be made to uphold and strengthen the Party’s overall leadership, follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, apply a people-centered development philosophy, continuously deepen reform and opening up, and carry forward the fighting spirit. He said it is important to develop the country and the nation with its own strength, and maintain a firm grasp on the future of China’s development and progress.
Xi called on the CPC and the PCC to maintain close communication, make full use of such mechanisms as the theoretical seminar between the two parties, strengthen exchange and mutual learning, and work together to promote innovation in socialist theories and progress in the practice, open a new frontier in adapting Marxism to national contexts and the needs of the times, and build socialism that fits their respective national conditions.
Xi stressed that China and Cuba are good friends who trust each other, good comrades committed to the same cause, and good brothers sharing weal and woe. The traditional friendship between the two countries has been forged and nurtured with great care by the elder generations of Chinese and Cuban leaders.
He said that over the 62 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, despite the constantly changing international situation, China and Cuba have remained steadfast in deepening their friendship featuring sincerity and trust, in pursuing mutually-beneficial and win-win cooperation, and in working together as partners in the cause of reform and development.
Xi said China always views and develops the relations between the two parties and two countries from a strategic height, and places China-Cuba relations in a special position in its diplomacy.
“However the international situation may evolve, China’s policy of upholding long-term friendship with Cuba will not change, its determination to support Cuba in following the path of socialism will not change, and its resolve to work with Cuba to defend international fairness and justice and oppose hegemony and power politics will not change,” the Chinese president said.
He said under the new circumstances, the two sides need to enhance strategic coordination, and work together to build a China-Cuba community with a shared future in the process of promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
“China will continue to firmly support Cuba in safeguarding national sovereignty and opposing foreign interference and blockade. China is ready to work with Cuba on the implementation of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI) to jointly promote world peace and development,” Xi said.
“Currently, comrades in Cuba are confronted with great challenges,” Xi said. “But the cause of socialism always advances through surmounting difficulties. China firmly believes that comrades in Cuba will overcome all difficulties, and China will do its best to provide support and assistance.”
China is ready to work with Cuba to deepen practical cooperation across the board, implement the plan on Belt and Road cooperation, and jointly advance the socialist modernization drive, Xi said.
Pointing out that cooperation between China and the LAC is South-South cooperation in nature, Xi said such cooperation is premised on mutual respect, guided by the principle of mutual benefit, characterized by openness and inclusiveness, and aimed at achieving common development.
It is consistent with the trend of the world and of history, and serves the common interests of countries in the region, Xi said.
At present, the political landscape in the LAC region is undergoing a new round of profound adjustment. China attaches great importance to the development of its relations with LAC countries, and will work with Cuba and other LAC countries to advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and pursue greater progress in the China-LAC comprehensive cooperative partnership of equality, mutual benefit and common development in the new era, so as to deliver greater benefits to the people of both sides, Xi said.
Diaz-Canel expressed sincere thanks to Xi for inviting him to be the first Latin American head of state to visit China after the successful conclusion of the 20th CPC National Congress.
On behalf of the PCC and the country, he once again extended warm congratulations on the success of the 20th CPC National Congress, on Xi’s re-election as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and on China’s historic achievements in advancing socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of President Xi, which has greatly encouraged the progressive forces around the world.
Diaz-Canel said that he and the PCC senior leadership have rigorously studied President Xi’s report to the 20th CPC National Congress. He said that faced with the exceptionally complex and grave political and economic situation, Cuba will look to China as an example, tackle the challenges head on and creatively, and achieve the goal of building socialism.
Diaz-Canel stressed that developing relations with China is among the top priorities in Cuba’s foreign policy. The Cuban side reaffirmed its firm commitment to the one-China principle and the support for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation as well as the GDI and the GSI. It will further strengthen coordination and cooperation with China in regional and international multilateral mechanisms such as the CELAC-China Forum and the Group of 77 and China, and make further contributions to growing LAC-China relations and upholding the common interests of developing countries.
At the end of the talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of bilateral documents on party-to-party exchange, the consultation mechanism between the two foreign ministries, Belt and Road cooperation and practical cooperation.
The two sides issued a Joint Statement on Deepening China-Cuba Relations in the New Era between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Cuba.
Prior to the talks, President Xi held a welcoming ceremony for Diaz-Canel in the Northern Hall of the Great Hall of the People. A 21-gun salute was fired in Tiananmen Square. The two presidents stepped onto the stand to review the guard of honor of the People’s Liberation Army.
After the talks, President Xi and Madame Peng Liyuan hosted a welcoming banquet for President Diaz-Canel and his wife Lis Cuesta Peraza.
Wang Yi and He Lifeng were present at the events.
Value of China-Cuba special friendship is particularly prominent today
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chinese president, held talks Friday with Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuban president, in the Great Hall of the People. Xi stressed that China and Cuba are good friends, good comrades and good brothers who trust each other and share weal and woe. The three “good’s” fully embody the special friendly relationship between the two parties and the two countries, and are also the condensation and refinement of a special period of history.
On the same day, the two sides issued a joint statement on deepening China-Cuba relations in the new era, which speaks highly of the traditional friendship between the two countries. On the basis of deepening political mutual trust and expanding practical cooperation, the two sides also emphasized firm mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests, and a consensus on the current international order. This is precious in today’s international relations.
Cuba was the first country in the Western Hemisphere to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Over the course of more than half a century, despite the vicissitudes of the international situation, the sincere friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Cuba have not wavered, and always shown vitality. China-Cuba relations have become a model of socialist countries to unite and cooperate and of developing countries to sincerely assist each other. This is beyond the comprehension of the arrogant and narrow-minded US and Western elites.
In fact, their opinion of China-Cuba relations is often low. When reporting on Diaz-Canel’s visit to China, some US media commented grotesquely that Cuba could be called China’s “brother” in the US’ backyard. This represents the inner thinking of a considerable number of Americans on China-Cuba relations. On the one hand, they regard Latin America as the “US backyard,” a space that cannot be touched by outsiders. On the other hand, they twist the special friendship between China and Cuba and believe that because Cuba is geographically close to the US, it could be manipulated or used to create trouble for the US. If we follow this logic, it is easy to realize why Washington has suddenly become so enthusiastic about China’s neighboring countries.
As is widely known, the US has imposed an embargo on Cuba for the last 60 years. This hatred and bullying against a sovereign country for such an extended period is something that could probably only be done by the US. The US government argues that the sanctions against Cuba only target the government and not the people, which is completely inconsistent with the facts. From fuel and food to daily necessities and medicines, the US sanctions and blockade against Cuba cover almost everything, causing long-term hardship for the Cuban people. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the US even prevented Cuba from obtaining raw materials for vaccine production. This is no longer just a violation of international morality, but is tantamount to a crime.
Just earlier this month, the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly once again adopted a resolution with an overwhelming majority of countries (185 in favor, two against and two abstentions) demanding that the US end the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba. This was the 30th consecutive time that the UN General Assembly had passed similar resolutions with an overwhelming majority. The US bullying against Cuba has triggered a broad sense in the international community of the need for justice. However, the US has turned a deaf ear to these wide calls for justice for 30 years, which is extremely insolent.
Precisely because of this special experience, Cuba has expressed its sincere agreement with China’s proposals of humanity’s common values, as well as the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative. The value of the special friendship between China and Cuba has become increasingly prominent, especially in the context of the unprecedented expansion of Washington’s desire for hegemony and the huge uncertainty the US has caused. The special nature of this experience is not only because the two sides have always adhered to the path of socialism with their own characteristics, but also because they share many commonalities in safeguarding sovereignty and independence, defending international fairness and justice, and promoting world peace and development. They are connected at the heart.
China-Cuba cooperation is a microcosm of China-Latin America cooperation. Cuba plays a critical role in the political ecology of Latin America, which highlights the strong desire of the Latin American region to follow the path of independent development. China-Cuba cooperation and China-Latin America cooperation have grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. In addition to the objective factor of economic complementarity, it is also due to the fact they are both developing countries that they can better appreciate the value of mutual respect and win-win cooperation. Some US media were sarcastic about the Cuban head of state’s visit, claiming that China is using Cuba to gain geopolitical benefits. This reflects Washington’s habitual hegemonic thinking about Latin America.
During his talks with Diaz-Canel, President Xi said, “China’s commitment to long-term friendship with Cuba will not change. China’s determination to support Cuba in pursuing socialism will not change. China’s will to work with Cuba to safeguard international fairness and justice and oppose hegemony and power politics will not change.” Friendship, justice, and mutual assistance – this is the overall pattern of China-Cuba relations in the new era, and it is also China’s consistent attitude in foreign exchanges. After Diaz-Canel’s trip, Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh and Thongloun Sisoulith, general secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee and Lao president, will pay visits to China successively. China’s circle of friends is stable and close, and constantly expanding.
China, Cuba eye deepening BRI cooperation; US’ scheme of marginalizing China in Latin America ‘failing’
China and Cuba on Friday vowed to deepen practical cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation plan, firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests, strengthen coordination in international and regional affairs as well as jointly build socialism with local characteristics, during a meeting between Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese president, and Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuban president.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of bilateral documents regarding inter-party exchanges, BRI cooperation and a consultation mechanism between their foreign ministries.
The two sides also issued an 18-point joint statement on deepening China-Cuba relations in the new era. Cuba reiterates its firm position of unconditionally abiding by the one-China principle, stressing that Cuba firmly opposes any attempt to use the Taiwan question to interfere in China’s internal affairs.
China firmly supports the Cuban people in their just struggle to defend national sovereignty and oppose external interference and blockades. China supports ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, according to the joint statement.
The two sides agreed to deepen high-quality BRI cooperation and strengthen cooperation in areas such as biotechnology, renewable energy, health, economy, trade, finance and cyber security, and China will continue to provide support and assistance to Cuba within its capacity, the statement said.
Chinese observers said Diaz-Canel’s visit came amid recent frequent visits of leaders from socialist countries, showing that these countries are deepening exchanges in theory and practice, and as they are also developing countries, the exchanges also let the world hear stronger voices from developing nations, which is conducive to promoting a world order that is fairer and more just as the US and West attempt to split the world through bloc confrontation and ideology.
Observers stressed that China-Cuba cooperation and China-Latin America cooperation benefit both sides and do not target any third party, and the steadily growing bilateral trade between China and countries in the region showed that the US is failing in its attempt to push aside China in the region that Washington long deems as its “sphere of influence” for geopolitical aims.
Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese president, said to Diaz-Canel, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuban president, that Diaz-Canel is the first Latin American and Caribbean head of state received by China since the 20th CPC National Congress held last month, which fully demonstrates the special friendship between the two countries and parties.
“Cuba is the first country in the Western Hemisphere that established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Our ties have become an example of solidarity and cooperation between socialist countries, as well as an example of sincere mutual assistance between developing countries,” Xi said.
Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday that the “special friendship” between the two countries and two parties mentioned by Xi was embodied in the long-term friendship of the two socialist countries since the two established diplomatic ties, as Cuba was the first country in the so-called “backyard” of the US in Latin America to establish diplomatic relations with China, which laid the foundation for other Latin American countries to establish diplomatic ties with China, and the two sides enjoy a friendship forged by the older generation of leaders, which has become a precious legacy of the two countries that should be cherished and consolidated.
The two parties in China and Cuba have united and led their peoples to withstand various negative influences from the international and domestic environment, overcome risks and challenges through great struggles, and can also support and coordinate with each other to defend fairness and justice in multilateral and international affairs, showing the strong vitality of the Marxist party and the socialist system, Pan Deng, executive director of the Latin American and Caribbean Region Law Center of China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.
According to Cuban news agency Prensa Latina, Diaz-Canel travelled with several senior officials, including Deputy Prime Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas and Alejandro Gil, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, and Ministers Rodrigo Malmierca (Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment) and Vicente de la O (Energy and Mines).
Cuba’s delegation includes several senior officials from different sectors, which showed that Cuba wants to comprehensively boost ties with China, analysts said.
Han Han, secretary general of the Center for the Cuba Studies Institute of Latin American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Science, told the Global Times on Friday that China and Cuba have always maintained frequent and consistent bilateral exchanges between the leaders and the two ruling parties, and this is key to promoting China-Cuba ties as well as to ensuring policy coherence and smooth implementation of pragmatic cooperation under the BRI.
Energy prices have continued to rise with increasing global demand, posing a great challenge to Caribbean countries like Cuba that depend greatly on external energy supplies, Han said. She said improving energy supplies, building power plants and more infrastructure are crucial for Cuba to realize its development goals, and in these fields, China and Cuba could strengthen their win-win cooperation.
China is receiving intensive visits recently from socialist countries, including previous visits by general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong and Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith in the coming week.
The current international order is at a crossroads in which the US and the West are forming cliques and encouraging decoupling, and many socialist countries which are also developing countries are working hand-in-hand with other developing countries to push the international order to a more just and fair direction and to promote the development of a multi-polar world, Chinese observers said.
Vanguard in Latin America
China-Latin America cooperation is based on mutual respect and benefit, which serves the common interests of countries in the region, and China stands ready to work with Cuba and other Latin American and Caribbean countries to advance high-quality BRI cooperation and promote greater development of China-Latin America comprehensive cooperative partnership in the new era, Xi said.
Cuba is a bellwether country in Latin America and the spiritual vanguard of the leftist, socialist and anti-America forces in the region, as it has remained unbroken in the face of US pressure and blockades, Li said, adding that Cuba is a model of independence and self-reliance in Latin America.
To date, about two-thirds of Latin American countries have elected leftist governments, most of which pursue a “Latin America of Latin Americans” and are keen to promote strategic independence from US influence, Chinese observers said.
Strengthening ties with countries like China has expanded the space for Latin American countries to make strategic choices and boosted their strategic independence and confidence, observers said.
China-Latin America economic and trade cooperation has overcome the adverse impact of the pandemic, showing strong resilience and development momentum, Shu Jueting, spokesperson from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), said on Thursday.
Wang Youming, director of the Institute of Developing Countries at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday that China’s cooperation with Latin America is based on mutual respect and benefit that local people welcome, and does not target any third party.
In sharp contrast, any moves by China in the region will be interpreted by the US as intruding in its “sphere of influence,” and the Biden administration has introduced several plans that attempt to elbow aside BRI, but apparently failed, as what the US offers cannot be implemented or bring any tangible benefits to local people, Wang said.
Playing geopolitical tricks and promoting protectionism can only hurt the US itself, Wang said.
Many Western media outlets began seeing the tendency of US influence fading in Latin America back in June, when several countries in the region skipped the US-held Summit of the Americas.
Bloomberg said that the boycotts, bluster and lackluster pledges made at the summit from countries in the region exposed the “shaky state” of US influence in Latin America.
Cuba and China, an exemplary case of solidarity
Granma International (machine-translated from Spanish)
President Xi Jinping described as “an exemplary case of solidarity and cooperation between socialist countries” the ties between China and Cuba, the first country in the Western Hemisphere, he recalled, to establish diplomatic relations with the new China.
His words took place during the segment of official talks to which the accredited press had access to the activities of the Cuban leader in Beijing, who fulfilled a very intense agenda in the little more than 24 hours he was in the Chinese capital.
Xi Jinping considered that Cuba has always been ahead of the countries in the Latin American region in developing relations with China. Now we are, he said, at a new historic starting point. We are willing to continue working together with Cuba to deepen mutual political trust and expand practical cooperation.
The Chinese president spoke to his Cuban counterpart of “supporting each other in matters concerning our respective interests and strengthening coordination and cooperation in international affairs, with a view to advancing hand in hand on the road to socialist construction with our own characteristics.
In response, the Cuban Head of State said he was very grateful for the invitation to make this visit, the first by a Head of State from Latin America and the Caribbean, after the successful holding of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China.
“For us this is an expression of the high priority and personal attention we give to our close ties of friendship and cooperation,” said Diaz-Canel.
The Cuban President assured that he valued very positively the theoretical and practical contributions of Xi Jinping’s leadership at the head of the Central Committee of the Party in the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, which we consider a real stimulus for all progressive forces.
Díaz-Canel recalled that this meeting coincided with the sixth anniversary of the physical departure of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, “who highlighted your capacity and firmness as a revolutionary leader”.
In his speech, the Cuban leader explained to Xi Jinping the difficult economic situation the island is going through, due to the tightening of the U.S. blockade and the impact of the pandemic at the global level.
He spoke of the concept of creative resistance and the conviction that “we can get out of all these situations, overcome these adversities, even with a tightened blockade, and for that we also have the support of friendly countries such as China.
After these talks, which took place in the impressive Great Palace of the People – located right next to the well-known Tiananmen Square – the Chinese and Cuban delegations signed several documents aimed at strengthening economic relations.
According to reports, a memorandum of understanding between Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment and China’s National Development and Reform Commission for the Establishment of the Coordination Mechanism for the Implementation of the Cooperation Plan for the Joint Promotion of the Silk Road and Belt Initiative was signed, among others.
Also another memorandum between MINCEX and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China for the Strengthening of Economic and Trade Cooperation. In addition to a plan for political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries, an agreement on the exchange and cooperation between the Communist Party of Cuba and the Communist Party of China; as well as the act of delivery of various donations in cash, medicines, medical supplies, food and raw materials.
On this day – marked by strong restrictions due to an outbreak of COVID-19 that kept the President’s visit under a closed epidemic bubble – Díaz-Canel also held meetings with the Chairman of the National People’s Congress, Li Zhanshu, and Premier Li Keqiang.
In all three meetings, I would say later in a virtual exchange with the members of the Cuban state mission in China (some 90 people), we found enormous sensitivity with respect to the economic situation of the Island.
They spoke with transparency, with honesty and we perceived a great commitment to the economic development of our country.
In the midst of all these important meetings, limited by time and also by a pandemic that on this side of the world seems to regain strength, the President did not forget to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Chinese people in the legendary Tiananmen Square, another sign of respect to this nation that, more than 13 thousand kilometers away, continues to be our sister nation.