HAVANA – Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang arrived in Cuba on Saturday on an official visit during which he will meet with President Raul Castro with the aim of strengthening economic cooperation, bilateral ties and mutual trust.
One of the aims of the visit by the Chinese premier to the Caribbean nation is “to inject a new dynamic into bilateral relations,” Li said in an article published Saturday in the Cuban government-run press.
Li arrived at the Cuban capital’s airport at 1:25 p.m., where he was welcomed by First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
The Chinese P.M. in his article said that China and Cuba “find themselves at a key phase of their development,” adding that his government is ready to “work with the Cuban side to strengthen high-level exchanges ... intensify mutual political confidence” and continue providing support on issues of common interest.
The Chinese official – who is traveling with his wife, Cheng Hong, which is not common for Chinese dignitaries – arrived in Havana after participating at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and visiting Canada.
He will remain in Cuba until Monday and, as part of his official agenda, it is expected that on Saturday afternoon he will be received at Cuban government headquarters by Raul Castro.
Cuba and China have maintained close relations for years, with the Asian giant being the island’s second-biggest trading partner and exchanging $1.6 billion in goods in the first nine months of last year, a 57 percent increase over 2014, according to official figures.
Li’s arrival comes during an intense week of bilateral activity for Havana, which in recent days also welcomed Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.