HANOI – Cuban President Raul Castro said Monday that his country and Vietnam are two nations in tune with each other, on the second day of his state visit to the Southeast Asian country.
“Our relationship has been developing for many years based on our rich history” of working together. “When one country is in need, the other helps out, and we share many points of view on world affairs,” Castro said in Hanoi.
The Cuban president, who arrived Saturday on a four-day trip, attended a ceremony to place a floral tribute in the mausoleum of former President Ho Chi Minh.
On Sunday Castro met with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, as well as with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong.
This is Castro’s first trip to Vietnam as president of Cuba and comes at a time when the Caribbean island is immersed in a plan of reforms to “modernize” its socialist economic model.
The spokesman for the Vietnamese foreign ministry, Loung Thanh Nghi, said that Castro’s visit will serve to “consolidate the political and economic alliance” between two of the last communist regimes in the world.
Vietnam, considered by the Cuban government as a political and economic ally, is the chief supplier of rice to the island, and is currently prospecting for oil in Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
The two countries also trade in textiles, footwear, computers, electronic products, lumber and coffee for a total value of more than $500 million in recent years. EFE