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Chinese President Meets With Castro

Vanessa Arrington | Havana | November 22

AP – Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Fidel Castro Monday for talks focusing on the broadening ties between Cuba and China, which has become the island’s third-largest trading partner.

Chinese President Meets With Castro

The Cuban leader, who shattered his left kneecap and broke his right arm in an accidental fall last month, sat in a wheelchair as he greeted Hu and his wife, Liu Yongqing, in Havana’s Palace of the Revolution.

Castro was in a dark suit, in contrast to the casual clothes he wore during recent visits by the presidents of Vietnam and Venezuela.

Officials didn’t disclose the substance of their private meeting, but Hu said in a statement the pair would discuss bilateral relations and international problems.

He was also expected to discuss possible business deals in the nickel, telecommunications and tourism sectors.

Relations between the two countries were tense during the Cold War, when the Caribbean island had a strong alliance with the Soviet Union. But since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, political and commercial ties between Cuba and China have steadily strengthened.

China now trails only Venezuela and Spain in volume of trade with Cuba, comprising 10 percent of the island’s foreign commerce, according to Ricardo Cabrisas, Cuba’s minister of government.

The Chinese president flew in from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which concluded Sunday in Santiago, Chile.

His visit to Havana coincided with a meeting of 400 or so Chinese and Cuban business leaders, whom Hu was expected to address Tuesday.

In remarks opening the two-day business forum, China’s vice minister of commerce said trade between China and Cuba reached $401 million in the first 10 months of this year – 36 percent more than in all of 2003.

“This reflects the disposition of Chinese business people to strengthen relations with Cuba,” Ma Xiuhong said.

There are 13 Chinese companies operating in Cuba that have made investments of $50 million. Seven Cuban companies are working in China, with investments of $15 million.

Associated Press reporter Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this report in Havana.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers

4 comments to Chinese President Meets With Castro

  • Anonymous

    November 24, 2004

    President Hu Jintao ended his first day of a state visit to Cuba by witnessing a marathon signing of 16 agreements, including deals to buy nickel, build a nickel production plant and launch exploration projects for the mineral.

    Hu and Cuban President Fidel Castro looked on as ministers and business executives signed the accords, which also included a 10-year extension to pay back loans given to Cuba in the early 1990s.

    Under the accords, starting next year Cuba will provide 4,000 tonnes of a nickel derivative a year to China, adding to a total 20,000 tonnes by 2009.

    Last year, Cuba became the world’s fifth largest nickel producer with 75,000 tonnes worth more than US$400 million (HK$3.12 billion).

    The agreements also call for the creation of joint ventures to handle the construction of a nickel plant in Moa in eastern Holguin province, as well as nickel exploration projects.

    The plant will have a production capacity of 22,500 tonnes of nickel.

    The ventures will be 51 per cent Cuban and 49 per cent Chinese, and involve China’s Grupo Minmetals.

    Cuba will have 10 more years to pay off four different interest-free loans received between 1990 and 1994 during hard economic times known in Cuba as “the special period”.

    Besides US$12 million in aid and funding to supply one million television sets for Cuba, other agreements included co-operation in the fields of biotechnology, telecommunications and meteorology, as well as plans to teach Chinese to Cuban students.

    Castro received Hu and his wife, Liu Yongqing, in Havana’s Palace of the Revolution. The 78-year-old Cuban leader, who shattered his left kneecap and broke his right arm in a fall last month, sat in a wheelchair.

    Hu’s visit coincided with a meeting in Havana of about 400 Chinese and Cuban businessmen and women discussing possible business deals.

    Vice-Commerce Minister Ma Xiuhong said business between the two nations has grown 36 per cent this year.

    Deals reached US$401 million between January and this month – 36 per cent more than in all of 2003.

    China, Cuba’s third trading partner after Venezuela and Spain, makes up 10 per cent of Cuba’s foreign commerce, Cuba’s Minister of Government Ricardo Cabrisas said.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Copyright 2004, The Standard, Sing Tao Newspaper Group and Global China Group. All rights reserved. No content may be redistributed or republished, either eletronically or in print, without express written consent of The Standard.
    http://www.thestandard.com.hk/stdn/std/China/FK24Ad06.html

  • Anonymous

      A bit ironic, in the absense of any hint of socialism left in China
    ————————————————-
     TRADE:Chinese leader creates richer ties with Cuba

    With a two-day visit, Chinese President Hu Jintao forges stronger trade relations with Cuba and pledges an investment in a new nickel production factory.

    ANDREA RODRIGUEZ | November 24 | Havana

    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/business/10257644.htm

    (AP) China forged a stronger economic partnership with the fellow communist nation of Cuba as Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to multimillion-dollar investment in the island’s key nickel industry and attended talks Tuesday aimed at increasing Chinese involvement in Cuban tourism and telecommunications.

    Hu, who arrived in Cuba Monday for a two-day visit, was accompanied by Defense Minister Raul Castro Tuesday at a forum of about 400 Cuban and Chinese business people negotiating new trade between the ideological allies.

    “Cuba is one of China’s largest commercial partners in Latin America”. Hu told the business gathering. “We share common ideals allowing us to follow our own path of development whatever the international situation may be.”

    Relations between the two countries were tense during the Cold War, when the Caribbean island was strongly allied with the Soviet Union. But since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and the island lost its preferential trade and aid deals with the Soviet bloc, political and commercial relations between Cuba and China have steadily strengthened.

    During a ceremony Tuesday to bestow the island’s prestigious José Martí Honorary Order on Hu, Cuban President Fidel Castro said current political relations represent “an example of transparency and peaceful collaboration between two nations that sustain the ideals of socialism.”

    IMPORTANT PROJECTS

    Cuban Foreign Investment Minister Marta Lomas also emphasized the two countries’ ”ideological identity” Tuesday during the business forum, adding that, “We have never had so many and such important projects.”

    China is now Cuba’s third-largest trading partner after Venezuela and Spain, representing 10 percent of Cuba’s foreign commerce, according to Cuban Minister of Government Ricardo Cabrisas.

    Business between the countries during the first 11 months of this year was $401 million, up 36 percent over all of 2003, Chinese Commerce Vice Minister Ma Xiuhong said Monday.

    There are 13 Chinese companies in Cuba with combined investments of $50 million. Seven Cuban companies work in China, with investments of $15 million.

    Hu on Monday oversaw the marathon signing of 16 agreements with Cuba, including deals to buy nickel, build a nickel production plant and launch exploration projects for the mineral.

    Last year, Cuba became the world’s fifth largest nickel producer, generating 83,000 tons worth more than $400 million.

    JOINT VENTURES

    The agreements also call for the creation of joint ventures to handle the construction of a new nickel plant in Moa, in the eastern region of Holguin, as well as nickel exploration projects in the mineral-rich Camaguey province.

    China will invest some $500 million in the Moa plant, Cuba’s Basic Industry Minister Yadira Garcia told reporters Tuesday.

    The business ventures will be 51 percent Cuban and 49 percent Chinese, and involve China’s Grupo MINMETALS as well as Cuban nickel businesses.

    As part of the deal, Cuba will have another 10 years to pay off four interest-free loans received from China between 1990 and 1994 during Cuba’s severe post-Soviet economic crisis.

    China will also donate $6 million to Cuban hospitals and health clinics, as well as cloth for school uniforms worth about another $6 million. The country also agreed to finance 1 million televisions for Cuba.

    There were also cooperation agreements in the fields of biotechnology, telecommunications and meteorology, as well as plans to teach Chinese to Cuban students.

    Hu, who came to Cuba on a personal invitation from Castro, flew in from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Santiago, Chile. The trip was his first to Latin America since taking office in March of 2003.

    ——————————————————————————–

    © 2004 Herald.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

  • Anonymous

    Abdullah in Havana to celebrate 30 years of close ties

    http://thestar.com.my/services/printerfriendly.asp?file=/2004/11/25/nation/9486386.asp&sec=natio
    n

    HAVANA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi arrived here today in conjunction with the celebration to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and Cuba.

    Malaysian ambassador Datuk Kamal Yan Yahaya said Abdullah was making an official visit to Cuba at the invitation of President Fidel Castro.

    This is also Abdullah’s first official visit to a country in this region. The Prime Minister had earlier attended the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders’ meeting in Santiago, Chile.

    Abdullah arrived from Ecuador, where he had spent two days holidaying at the Galapagos.

    Kamal said ties between the two countries were excellent and Castro had visited Malaysia three years ago to attend the Non-Aligned Movement meeting.

    Abdullah is scheduled to receive the Jose Marti award from Castro. This is the highest award given to foreign head of state or government.

    During Abdullah’s three-day visit here, two memorandums of understanding are expected to be signed between two Malaysian companies and two Cuban institutes involved in biotechnology, and cancer treatment and prevention.

    Kamal said Cuba was one of the foremost countries in medicine and biotechnology.

    Among those accompanying Abdullah were Higher Education Minister Datuk Shafie Salleh, Health Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lek and Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin.

    Kamal said trade between Cuba and Malaysia was minimal at only RM5mil and he hoped that Abdullah’s visit would spur more business between the two countries.

  • Anonymous

    Another in a series of “banned nations bonding”  Fidel is hosting
    ————————————————-
    DPR of Korea’s senior military officer visits Cuba

    http://www.vnagency.com.vn/NewsA.asp?LANGUAGE_ID=2&CATEGORY_ID=34&NEWS_ID=128275

    Havana (VNA) – “A military delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea led by Vice Marshal and Chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army Kim Yong-chun paid an official visit to Cuba on Monday.

    During the visit, scheduled to last till November 27, the DPRK’s military delegation is expected to  have working sessions with the General Staff of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces to discuss measures aimed at promoting relationship and cooperation between armies of the two countries.

    The delegation will also attend activities of solidarity and visit some cultural, historic, economic and military facilities in the capital of Havana and other localities in Cuba.”

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