Fidel Castro met with He Guoqiang, a member of China’s powerful Politburo Standing Committee, for more than two hours yesterday, discussing numerous and diverse topics such as Tibet, Taiwan, food prices, the Olympics, and Fidel’s health (He conveyed President Hu Jintao’s wish for Castro’s speedy recovery). Earlier in the week He met with Cuban President Raul Castro.
He’s visit is just one of many recent signs of strengthening Cuba–China relations. Trade between the two nations surged to $2.2 billion last year, up 23 percent from 2006, and nearly 250 percent from 2005; China is Cuba’s second-largest trading partner (after Venezuela). China recently expanded broadcasts in Cuba of Chinese television stations and sold railway engines to the Cuban government for use in the public transport system.
He Guoqiang’s Cuba visit marked the beginning of a four-country tour that will take him to Brazil, Angola, and Trinidad and Tobago.