BEIJING - Dozens of people paid tribute to the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro at the Cuban embassy in Beijing on Monday, laying flowers and wreaths beneath a portrait of the deceased revolutionary just days after President Xi Jinping offered his condolences to the Cuban people.
"The Chinese people have lost a good and true comrade," said Xi in a statement immediately after Castro's death was announced on Nov. 25, adding that "Memories of Castro will live on forever," as cited by CRI English.
Cuba was the first Latin American country to form diplomatic relations with China in 1960, one year after Castro came to power.
In 2014 China had awarded Fidel the Confucius Peace Prize for his peaceful defiance of American imperialism, and today China remains Cuba's second-largest trading partner only after Venezuela, with bilateral trade totalling $2.2 billion in 2015, according to the Chinese government.
The Vietnamese government on Monday also paid tribute to Castro, with hundreds of officials and diplomatic representatives attending a ceremony at the Embassy of Cuba in Hanoi.
Present among the mourners were Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Tran Dai Quang and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, according to an epa journalist.
The Communist Party of Vietnam had on Nov. 26 sent a sorrowful message to the Cuban National Assembly, expressing their hopes that Raul Castro would continue the revolution of the wishes of the late leader, as cited by VBN.
The two countries have maintained staunch ties since the founding of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976, with Castro once famously saying that "Cuba is willing to devote blood to Vietnam".
"Under the leadership of Fidel, Cuba was the pioneer in the world movement of supporting Vietnam's struggle for independence as well as national construction," reported state news agency VNA, noting that Castro had visited Vietnam three times.
Castro served as prime minister and president of Cuba for more than four decades until passing the baton to his brother in 2008.
Cuba has declared nine days of national mourning over the death in Havana on Friday of the 90-year-old revolutionary leader, who in 1959 liberated Cuba from the corrupt and repressive regime of Fulgencio Batista.