(HAVANA) – On Monday, President Xi Jinping of China, arrived in Cuba and was welcomed by Cuban Vice president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, along with his Chinese diplomats. The Chinese president aims to uplift trade as well as political ties with Cuba and other Latin American countries.
Previously, during the tour to Latin America, China has signed 38 new agreements with Venezuela in the sectors like energy, mining, transportation and has opened up a new branch of China Development Bank in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. This also includes the USD 4 billion credit line in return for Venezuela’s crude products. Notable deals with Brazil and Argentina, and formation of a new development bank with the BRICS group are some important advancements of Mr. Jinping’s trip.
Bilateral agreements are expected to be signed between Raúl Castro, President of Cuba, and Mr. Jinping. The Chinese leader is expected to visit the October 2014 hurricane “Sandy” struck Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second-largest city, which resulted in 11 deaths and 17,000 homes destroyed. The Chinese government plans to co-operate in the rehabilitation process.
China has grown its trade with Latin American countries and is now the second-largest trading partner of both Argentina and Cuba, and has been Brazil’s since 2009. Furthermore, trade between these countries has increased from USD 1.4 million to USD 19.2 billion last year, since four decades. Many Chinese investors have accompanied their leader and showed interest of investing in the communist-led Cuba.
In past, Jinping visited Latin America including Mexico and Costa Rica thirteen months ago. The visit was restricted to US allies and avoided the countries considered anti-American. But this time it was opposite as the four-nation Latin American tour has taken Jinping to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and now Cuba. According to the analysts, China’s economy has slowed down from the past decade to this year, therefore, this trip is to safeguard the natural resources of these countries and prosper the economic expansion. However, others say that inducing political coordination with Latin America is the main concern of China.