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    Cuba's President Raul Castro (R) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 September 2017

Recalling Cuba's aid following China's catastrophic 2008 earthquake, the Chinese ambassador recognized the history of mutual support between their countries.

A 747 loaded with relief materials and aid arrived in Cuba on Friday from China to help with recovery following Hurricane Irma, as the two nations reiterated their support and mutual good relations.

The flight contains 86 tons of relief materials.

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“China and Cuba are friendly countries that over the years have supported each other and are firmly united in difficult situations,” China's Ambassador to Cuba, Chen Xi said. He recalled that in 2008 Cuba had shown invaluable solidarity by sending a medical team to the Sichuan region following a catastrophic earthquake that killed nearly 70,000 people and injured hundreds of thousands more.

More aid from China is on its way too, with China planning on sending three more similar flights, as well as regular shipments of rice and food aid to the Caribbean country over the course of the year.

Cuba's deputy minister of foreign trade and investment, Antonio Carricarte, expressed thanks and appreciation to China for the aid, saying that the two nations are “brother countries” with “ties of friendship, solidarity and respect.”

Carricarte also said that the relations held between China and Cuba are representative of a model demonstrating that positive, equal relations can exist between distant nations of different sizes.

“Regardless of the size of the country or its economies, this is an expression of the relationships that can exist between large nations like China and smaller ones like Cuba,” the Cuban official said.

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The aid shipment coincided with a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez Parilla. The Chinese diplomat expressed full confidence that the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party will lead Cuba to a full recovery from the recent hurricane's damages.

Wang continued to say that China will continue to “put Cuba at a special place in its foreign policy and will as always support Cuba's legitimate fight for sovereignty and its endeavors against the U.S. embargo,” Xinhua quoted.

The two country’s representatives also discussed the changing international situation in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela, and agreed to enhance political and economic cooperation to promote sovereignty and development in the region.

“China-Latin America comprehensive cooperation is facing new opportunities,” Wang said according to Xinhua.

Rodriguez said that the Cuban Communist Party congratulates China on its own “enormous achievements in political, economic and diplomatic fields.”

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