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Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel decreed 18 hours of official mourning for the death of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (1993-2003) at the age of 96.
According to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, the official mourning in force from 6:00 to 12:00 local time on December 1, implies the hoisting of the national flag at half-mast in public buildings and military institutions.
The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said via Twitter, "Decrees the President of the Republic Official Mourning in Cuba, on the occasion of the death of the former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and former President of the People's Republic of China, Jiang Zemin."
The ministry's official note reads that Jiang Zemin "contributed to the promotion and comprehensive development of the close ties of friendship and cooperation between our countries, which made him worthy of the José Martí Order."
According to the text, the former Chinese president was the only head of state to visit Cuba after the disappearance of the socialist camp and the tightening of the U.S. blockade against the island in 1993. "An invaluable gesture of brotherhood and confidence in our country's ability to successfully overcome that difficult moment."
Lamentamos profundamente la partida física del compañero Jiang Zemin, destacado dirigente comunista y gran amigo de #Cuba.
Nuestras más sentidas condolencias al pueblo, partido y gobierno chinos, que hacemos extensivas a familiares y allegados. pic.twitter.com/ftPHwr8iXR
We deeply regret the physical departure of comrade Jiang Zemin, an outstanding communist leader and great friend of Cuba. Our heartfelt condolences to the Chinese people, party and government, which we extend to his family and loved ones.
Jiang Zemin died in Shanghai at 12:13 local time of leukemia and multi-organ failure, state news agency Xinhua reported in a statement.
He was the general secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002 and served as the country's president from 1993 to 2003.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries date back more than half a century since they were established in 1960. Recently, the Cuban president paid an official visit to the Asian nation. On the occasion, Díaz-Canel met with his counterpart Xi Jinping and both ratified the countries' political and economic ties.