Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (L) and First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers Raul Castro Ruz during the latter's visit to Vietnam in 2012. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The State visit to Cuba by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong from March 28-30 aims to consolidate mutual political trust and step up bilateral cooperation in economy, trade and investment in a more pragmatic and effective manner.

The visit demonstrates the importance Vietnam attaches to enhancing its relations with the Latin-American region, as well as the country’s efforts to consolidate and advance its position.

It also reflects solidarity and friendship between the Party, State and people of Vietnam and Cuban Party, State and people.

This is the first high-level meeting between the two countries after the passing away of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro Ruz in 2016, and also the Vietnamese Party chief’s first visit to Latin-America following the 12th National Congress of the CPV the same year.

The Vietnam-Cuba solidarity and fraternal relationship, which were fostered by Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro, have developed across spheres, becoming a valuable asset and a source of great encouragement for the revolutionary cause of each country.

Since the two countries set up diplomatic ties in December 1960, their solidarity, mutual support and comprehensive cooperation have been strengthened.

Cuba took lead in movements supporting Vietnam’s past struggle for national liberation, freedom and reunification, as well as its present national construction.

In 1973, Fidel Castro was the first and only foreign leader to visit Vietnam’s southern liberation area when the war was going on.

The bilateral political ties have been reflected through the regular exchange of visits between the two countries’ Party, State and Government leaders.

Apart from intensifying delegation exchange between agencies of the Parties, ministries, agencies and businesses, the two countries have regularly and effectively implemented cooperation mechanisms.

Military affiliation remains a pillar and a model of the Vietnam-Cuba relationship.

Cuba has attached great importance to sharing experience in reform with Vietnam, especially in political system building, macroeconomic management, finance-baking, and State-owned enterprise management and renovation.

At the same time, the two countries have cooperated and supported each other at international organistions and multilateral forums, particularly the United Nations.

Vietnam persistently backs Cuba’s request for the removal of the US’s embargo against the country and commits to supporting the country’s bid for a seat in the UN Human Rights Council for 2021-2023.

Along with the political ties, Vietnam and Cuba have also paid heed to economic and trade bonds through a range of programmes and projects.

In 2016, two-way trade reached 235 million USD, which expanded to 224.3 million USD in 2017. The two sides are striving to raise the bilateral trade to 500 million USD by 2020.

Vietnam mainly exports rice to Cuba, along with coal, chemicals, garments-textiles and computers, while importing pharmaceutical products.

The Vietnamese Government always encourages and creates the best possible conditions for businesses of the two sides to expand cooperation in order to make the economic and trade ties on par with bilateral political relations as well as the special time-honoured friendship.

The Cuban side has also called for Vietnamese investments in food production, oil and gas exploration and exploitation, industry, tourism, bio-technology, and other priority areas in the Mariel Special Economic Development Zone.

Vietnam and Cuba still have substantial potential for cooperation. Vietnam has strength in agriculture, telecommunications, electronics, computer science, electricity, consumption goods, and construction and building materials. Meanwhile, Cuba has advantages in education, training, health care, bio-technology, pharmaceutical products and tourism.-VNA