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President Hu in Havana for state visit
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Chinese President Hu Jintao said Monday upon his arrival in Havana that his state visit to Cuba aims to enhance friendship and enlarge cooperation between the two countries.

In a written speech issued at the airport, the Chinese president said that during his visit he will exchange views with Cuban leaders on bilateral ties and major world issues of mutual concern.

"It is the common desire of the Chinese and the Cuban peoples to consolidate and further develop lasting friendship between the two nations," he said.

President Hu said that he believes his visit would be a complete success because of the well-prepared arrangements of the Cuban side.

This is President Hu's second state visit to Cuba since his first one in November 2004.

The two countries will sign documents of cooperation in economic and education sectors during the visit, according to Chinese diplomats.

China and Cuba set up diplomatic ties in 1960. In recent years, the two countries have maintained frequent high-level visits, deepened mutual trust and expanded trade and economic cooperation.

China is Cuba's major trading partner with two-way trade totaling 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2007.

President Hu, who is on a five-nation trip, flew to Havana from San Jose, Costa Rica, after a state visit to the Central American nation.

He will also visit Peru and Greece, and attend the Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

The Chinese leader earlier attended the G20 summit on the international financial crisis in Washington.

(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2008)

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