Chinese, Cuban leaders pledge staunch friendship

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Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Cuban leader Raul Castro pledged Tuesday that the two countries will be long-term, staunch friends and partners for reciprocal cooperation.


Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) attends a welcoming ceremony held by Cuban President Raul Castro (1st L Front) in Havana, capital of Cuba, July 22, 2014. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng) 

"We will resolutely deepen our friendship and treat each other with all sincerity, carry out mutually beneficial cooperation and forge our partnership in reform and development," Xi said during talks with Castro, president of Cuba's Council of State and the Council of Ministers.

"China cherishes the traditional friendship between the two nations. No matter how the international situation changes, it will be a set policy of China to develop a long-term friendship with Cuba," Xi noted.

Since China and Cuba forged diplomatic ties 54 years ago, the two sides have been striving for a common goal, adhering to the same causes and beliefs, helping each other and sharing weal and woe as they built up socialism, Xi said.

The two sides have carried out cooperation and promoted common development on the basis of sincerity, mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, he said, adding that they have conformed to the trend and kept abreast with the times to inject new impetus into the development of ties.

Xi pointed out that the socialist path with Chinese characteristics is consistent with the historical tide and wins the support of the people.

"We will walk along this broad road unswervingly," he stressed.

China firmly supports Cuba's pursuit of socialist path, its just fight for safeguarding national sovereignty, and its adjustment of economic and social policies, Xi said, pledging continued aid to Cuba within China's capabilities.

The Chinese side is willing to maintain high-level contacts with Cuba, increase inter-party exchanges, and work for more frequent multi-tiered dialogues and consultations, he said.

Xi called for continued mutual support on issues related to the two sides' core interests and major concern, enhanced communication in state governance and socialist construction, and mutual learning and backing during their respective reform processes.

For his part, Castro recalled his previous visits to China, saying bilateral relations are at the best moment in history with cooperation having been expanded to various areas.

He believed that China, a great nation, will surely achieve the success of socialist cause with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

China's development will surely make greater contributions to boosting world peace and human progress, he added.

The Cuban side was grateful that China provided consistent staunch support and spoke up boldly for Cuba in defense of justice, Castro said.

Cuba resolutely supports China's efforts in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, and is willing to strengthen contacts with China on various levels, compare notes on socialist construction and learn from each other in this regard, he said.

On economic ties, Xi proposed that China and Cuba make good use of the existing mechanisms like the inter-governmental economic and trade mixed committee.

He called on the two sides to follow the guidance of the bilateral mid-term economic cooperation plan to boost trade and explore potential in healthcare and other service trade.

The two sides, he said, also need to expand cooperation in key areas like agriculture, infrastructure construction, energy, mining and tourism, and foster new growth points for cooperation in such hi-tech fields as renewable energy and biotechnology.

The two countries should boost the development of the Cuba-China demonstration park on agricultural technology, the Havana demonstration zone on digital TV, as well as port development projects and special economic zones in Cuba, Xi said, adding that Chinese enterprises are encouraged and supported to invest or open business in Cuba.

Castro said Cuba highly values developing an all-round cooperative relationship with China and is willing to promote bilateral trade, widen cooperation in mining, renewable energy, agriculture and biopharmacy. He also welcomed Chinese investment in Cuba.

Moreover, he proposed that the two sides establish a special working team to push for the construction of key projects.

On China-Latin America ties, Xi said China thanks Cuba for its contribution in advancing the cooperation between China and the region, and expressed his hope that the two countries could continue strengthening coordination to boost China-Latin America and South-South cooperation.

Meanwhile, Castro vowed that Cuba will firmly push for the setting up of a forum between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and promote the friendly cooperation between China and Latin America.

Officials from both sides signed a series of cooperation agreements covering economy and trade, agriculture, energy, mining, financing, biotechnology, telecommunication, infrastructure construction, health, culture and education, in the presence of the two heads of state.

After their talks, Castro conferred Cuba's Jose Marti Medal to Xi in recognition of his contribution to promoting bilateral ties and his outstanding achievements in leading the Chinese people to build socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Jose Marti (Jan. 28, 1853 -- May 19, 1895) was a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature.

China and Cuba are both socialist countries bonded by the same ideals, beliefs and goals, Xi said.

"The Chinese side is fully confident in the future development of its relations with Cuba. China is willing to be a good friend, comrade and brother of Cuba forever and join hands with Cuba to constantly elevate bilateral ties to new heights," Xi added.

The Chinese president arrived here Monday for his first state visit to Cuba since taking office. It is also the last leg of his four-nation Latin America tour, which has already taken him to Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.

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