Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday hailed the long-term traditional friendship between China and Cuba, vowing to further consolidate ties in multiple areas.
President Xi made the remarks when meeting with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who's currently on a three-day state visit to China.
As early as 58 years ago, Cuba became the first country in the Western Hemisphere to establish diplomatic ties with China, and the friendship has lasted ever since.
Calling Cuba "a great country and a good friend," President Xi vowed to support Cuba in defending its national sovereignty and develop in a way that is in line with its own national conditions.
Under the strong leadership of Raul Castro and President Diaz-Canel, Cuba will continuously make greater and more fruitful achievements, Xi said.
The Chinese president appreciates Cuba's role in promoting relationships between China and Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Xi also noted that the two nations should further consolidate mutual trust and support when dealing with major issues concerning each other's core values, adding that both sides should push for further cooperation in major areas like trade and investment, energy, agriculture, tourism and pharmaceuticals.
On Diaz-Canel's part, he said Cuba is proud to be the first country in the Western Hemisphere to establish diplomatic ties with China. Cuban people always hold amicable feelings toward the Chinese, and are grateful for China's support for Cuba, Diaz-Canel said.
He said the Cuban new leadership will unswervingly consolidate and reinforce the traditional friendship between the two countries.
The Cuba-China relationship is based on mutual respect, trust and win-win cooperation, Diaz-Canel said, adding that it has gone through changes in the international arena, and it will not fear any future challenges.
The Cuban president spoke highly of the achievements China has made, saying that Cuba is willing to learn from China to better advance his country's economic and social development.
He also agreed that both sides should continue to maintain high-level exchanges, and strengthen cooperation in fields like trade and investment, education, and culture.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also met with the Cuban leader on the same day in Beijing.
Li confirmed China's willingness to expand the import of Cuban products with unique advantages, promote knowledge cooperation and strengthen exchanges of development experience.
Diaz-Canel said his country looks forward to consolidating and inheriting a traditional friendship with China. Cuba will increase the frequency, breadth and depth of high-level exchanges to guide the development and increase the potential of bilateral relations, he added.
(Top photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife meet with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and his wife on Thursday in Beijing. /Xinhua Photo)