|President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers of Cuba Miguel Mario Diaz Canel Bermudez
It is also a step to realise agreements reached during the State visit to Cuba by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong in March this year and the visit to Vietnam by Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba Salvador Valdes Mesa last September.
The solidarity and fraternal relationship between Vietnam and Cuba, which were fostered by Presidents Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh, have developed across fields.
The relationship has become a valuable asset and a source of great encouragement for the revolutionary cause of each country.
Since the two countries established diplomatic ties in December 1960, the solidarity, mutual support and comprehensive cooperation have been continuously consolidated.
During Vietnam’s liberation war against the US, Cuba took the lead in international movements in support of Vietnam.
It was the first country in the world to recognise the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam and accept the permanent representative delegation of the front (July 1962).
Besides, the country provided economic and military support for Vietnam during the war.
Over the past years, the time-honoured solidarity, mutual support and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries have been strengthened in all spheres.
In the field of politics, Party, State and Government leaders of the two countries have regularly exchanged visits, contributing to enhancing the bilateral ties and expanding exchanges between ministries, agencies and sectors.
Some of the most noteworthy visits by Vietnamese leaders to Cuba were made by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in April 2012 and March 2018, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in March 2014, President Truong Tan Sang in September 2015 and President Tran Dai Quang in November 2016. National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan also flew to Cuba to attend the funeral ceremony of leader Fidel Castro in November 2016.
Meanwhile, President Raul Castro visited Vietnam in July 2012, First Vice President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers Miguel Diaz-Canel visited in June 2013, and National Assembly Chairman Esteban Lazo Hernandez visited in June 2017.
The two sides have regularly and effectively implemented cooperation mechanisms such as the Inter-governmental Committee, the theoretical workshops between the two Parties, political consultations between foreign ministries, and national defence and security dialogues.
In particular, the relationship between the two armies has been seen as the pillar and a model for affiliations in other realms.
During the official visit to Vietnam by a high-ranking Cuban military delegation led by Politburo member and Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces Sen. Lieut. Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias last September, the two sides inked a cooperation plan for the 2017-2019 period, focusing on all-level delegation exchange, military doctor training, and air defence-air force services.
In multilateral diplomacy, the two sides have maintained cooperation and mutual support at international organisations and multilateral forums, especially the United Nations.
Vietnam has committed to backing Cuba to run for a seat at the UN Human Rights Council for 2021-2023, while consistently supporting the call for an end to the US’s economic embargo on Cuba. In response, Cuba supports Vietnam’s candidacy for a non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021.
Apart from the fruitful political ties, economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has also received attention through programmes and projects.
Vietnam is one of the ten biggest world trade partners of Cuba and the second biggest in Asia.
Vietnam exports rice, coal, chemicals, garment-textiles and computers to Cuba while importing pharmaceutical products from the Caribbean country.
Two-way trade averaged US$170 million each year between 2012 and 2014, and climbed to US$218 million in 2015, and US$230 million in 2016 and 2017, with Vietnam enjoying a trade surplus.
Cuba imported about 300,000-400,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam each year.
In response to Cuba’s plan to expand cooperation with foreign partners, hundreds of Vietnamese businesses have come to the country to seek opportunities.
The Vietnamese Government has created favourable conditions for businesses of the two sides to expand partnership in order to make the economic and trade ties match the political and diplomatic bonds and traditional friendship.
The Cuban side has called on Vietnamese firms to invest in such areas as food production, industry, tourism, bio-technology and priority sectors at the Mariel Special Development Zone.
Along with telecom cooperation between Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group of Vietnam and Cuban Telecommunications Company ETECSA, the two countries have joined hands in the production of vaccines and medicines, and exchange of experts in this field.
In agriculture, through projects on rice, corn and soybean production, and aquaculture, Vietnam has helped Cuba improve productivity and ensure national food security.-