Cuba inspired by China's economic reform, top official says
Published November 24, 2010
Beijing – Cuban parliament speaker Ricardo Alarcon said Wednesday at a
meeting here with Chinese counterpart Wu Bangguo that Cuba wants to take
advantage of Beijing's experience in the process of economic reform and
"Cuba is prepared to take advantage of China's experience of development
in reform and opening," said Alarcon during the meeting, according to
the official Xinhua news agency.
The Cuban lawmaker said that "it is basic for Cuba to strengthen
bilateral ties with China."
Alarcon's six-day visit to China comes at the 50th anniversary of
bilateral relations between the two nations.
"China and Cuba enjoy a political foundation with deep bases for the
development of their links," Wu said during the meeting.
Cuba in 1960 became the first country in Latin America to establish
diplomatic relations with communist China and with the fall of the
Soviet Union it drew closer to Beijing, which in 2009 was the main
supplier of consumer and manufactured goods to the Caribbean island.
Before the meeting with Wu, Alarcon held a meeting with China's top
political advisor, Jia Quinglin.
Jia, the president of the Consultative Political Conference of the
Chinese People, thanked Cuba for its stance regarding Taiwan and Tibet
as parts of China, and he guaranteed the support of his government "to
the Cuban adherence to the socialist path."
The Cuban politician will conclude his trip to China on Friday, after
meeting with Vice President Xi Jinping, seen as likely to succeed
President Hu Jintao in 2012.
Alarcon's trip is significant because "it comes on the eve of the
meeting of the Cuban Assembly regarding economic reform on Dec. 15. That
proves that the bilateral relationship is very close," Xu Shichen, an
expert at the Latin American Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences, told Efe.
Bilateral trade between China and Cuba totals about $1.6 billion a year,
of which 30 percent consists of Cuban exports such as nickel, sugar and
rum, and the rest is Chinese equipment, machinery and manufactured products.
This trade, which is not affected by the U.S. economic embargo on the
communist island, is augmented by commercial exchange in the health,
biotechnology, professional training and renewable energy sectors.