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Cuban Dictator Begins Official Visit to China

Dictador de Cuba inicia visita oficial a China, EFE

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Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel will arrive in the next few hours in China for a two-day official visit, the agenda of which has not been disclosed, but it is expected that he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, among other activities.

Díaz-Canel will land in Beijing from Turkey, his previous stop in an international tour that in the last week has also taken him to Algiers and Russia, and which comes at a time when the Caribbean island is going through one of its worst economic moments in decades, marked by a serious energy crisis.

In the absence of further details, it is expected that the entire stay of the Cuban leader and his entourage will take place in an “anti-virus bubble,” a closed-circuit mode in which visitors have no contact with the outside world, in compliance with the strict restrictions maintained by China since the beginning of the pandemic.

This type of “bubble” also hosted the visit of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier this month, and even the Winter Olympic Games in the Chinese capital last February.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a press conference earlier this week that Díaz-Canel will be the first president from Latin America and the Caribbean to visit the country after the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPCh) held last October, where Xi Jinping was ratified for an unprecedented third term among his immediate predecessors.

“We are confident that the visit will inject new impetus into the development of Sino-Cuban relations and boost further progress in our friendship and cooperation,” Mao added.

Meanwhile, the Cuban ambassador to China, Carlos Miguel Pereira, wrote on Facebook that Díaz-Canel “will honor Chinese heroes” and stressed that after 62 years of uninterrupted diplomatic relations, bilateral ties “have reached full maturity.”

“This new visit will serve to validate the ties between our countries as an example of mutual support between developing nations and solidarity cooperation between socialist countries,” the diplomat said in his text.

The Cuban delegation, the largest to travel abroad since the beginning of the pandemic, is made up of Deputy Prime Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas and Alejandro Gil, as well as the heads of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, Foreign Trade, Rodrigo Malmierca, Energy, Vicente de la O Levy, and Public Health, José Ángel Portal.

During his stays in Moscow and Ankara this week, Díaz-Canel met with both his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Cuban ruler’s last visit to China and first as president took place in November 2018, lasted three days and in it he met with Xi, with whom he agreed to boost “friendly” ties between the two countries and several bilateral agreements were signed.

In 1960, Cuba was the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, which had been created in 1949.

Meanwhile, China has traditionally supported Cuba in international forums such as the United Nations, where it has called for the lifting of the U.S. embargo.