China, Cuba pledge to stick to independent road

BEIJING, Nov. 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Regardless of changes in the world, China and Cuba have pledged to stay the course of independent development.

The two countries should further expand their mutually beneficial co-operation to benefit both peoples, visiting President Hu Jintao said in his talks with Cuba's First Vice-President Raul Castro Tuesday morning.

The president was completing a two-day state visit to Cuba, capping a four-nation tour of Latin America that started on November 10.

"However the international situation may change, we both choose to stick to an independent development path that suits our own countries' conditions," Hu said later in the day to more than 500 Chinese and Cuban entrepreneurs gathered for a two-day forum.

The forum, sponsored by China's Ministry of Commerce and the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Trade, ended on Tuesday in the Cuban capital.

China and Cuba, both developing countries, face the same task of promoting economic growth and rejuvenating their nations, Hu said.

As the world is undergoing profound changes, safeguarding world peace and advancing common development has become a shared aspiration, Hu said.

For China and Cuba to reach the goal of common development, they should continuously tap co-operative potential and expand co-operation avenues, while supplementing each other's advantages, Hu said.

Sino-Cuban relations have ushered in a new period since the 1990s, with growing political trust and bilateral trade, he said.

Castro said Cuba has to speed up national development by strengthening foreign economic relations.

He spoke highly of the country's traditional friendship with China, adding that China is emerging as a genuine developing power as a result of sticking to a socialist path with Chinese characteristics.

He said the two countries have maintained high-level exchanges in almost all areas, and have created new and promising co-operative opportunities that will benefit both sides.

President Hu said the Chinese Government and people are willing to co-operate sincerely with Cuban Government and people and work hard for a bright future.

President Hu left the Caribbean country Tuesday night, wrapping up his two-week visit to four Latin-American nations, which also took him to Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

During the visit, the Chinese president attended the 12th Economic Leaders' Meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation in Santiago, Chile, on November 20 and 21.


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