Sino-Cuban ties foster peace
Developing co-operative relations between China and Cuba suits the interests of both countries and will contribute to world peace, visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao told his Cuban counterpart on Monday.
In reviewing ties since China and Cuba forged diplomatic relations in 1960, Hu said bonds have withstood the test of time and changes in international situations.
The nations remain friends, supporting and treating one another frankly and honestly, he said.
Expanding relations enhances both societies and is conducive to world peace and common development, Hu said.
Castro, who suffered a leg injury in a recent fall, received Hu sitting in a wheel-chair as they held talks at government headquarters, the Palace of the Revolution.
Cuba is President Hu's last stop on a four-nation Latin-American trip, which took him to Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
To continue to develop relations with the Caribbean country, Hu proposed the sides increase exchanges to and long-term co-operation in government, parliaments and political parties.
In addition, direct links should be encouraged among non-governmental organizations and other institutions, Hu said.
With regard to trade, Hu proposed the sides deepen co-operation.
Cuba has abundant tourism resources and optimal conditions for developing marine fisheries, and its bio-technology is also very advanced, Hu said.
The two countries should jointly invest in these advantageous areas, he said.
Trade stood at about US$356.8 million last year, with volume surging by 36.7 per cent to reach US$401 million through September this year, according to Chinese customs statistics.
Hu also said the two countries should shore up consultations in international affairs and defend the legitimate rights of developing countries to contribute to world peace and development.
Castro said he fully agreed with Hu's proposals.
Talking about trade, Castro mentioned China's colour TV sets, which he said are of good quality.
Following its import of 1.3 million such products from China since 2000, Castro said Cuba hopes to purchase another 1 million.
He said he had closely followed China's development and was pleased to see China's fast-paced growth and the rapid development of Cuban-Sino relations.
After the men met, officials from the two governments signed a dozen of documents on plant quarantine, fisheries, bio-technology and economic co-operation, along with a memorandum on jointly launching an iron-nickle plant in Cuba.
Hu was scheduled to leave Cuba on Tuesday, local time.