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China's bridges to the Cuban revolutionary icon

Reporter: Omar Khan 丨 CCTV.com

11-27-2016 05:27 BJT

Throughout his long and legendary life, Fidel Castro had been a friend of China and many of China's leaders.

A towering figure of 20th century history. A great survivor on the doorstep of a superpower. 

Fidel Castro may have been much closer with China in the early 1960s than what many have recently suggested. Cuba is the first country in the western planet that has established diplomatic relations with China. Cooperation between the two countries went far beyond mere exchanges of rice for sugar against the backdrop of the Cold War. 

Fidel Castro himself claimed to be a fan of Chairman Mao Zedong, and had applied Mao's military tactics during the Cuban Revolution. He has always expressed his regrets not having met Chairman Mao in person.

"Castro told me Chairman Mao Zedong's military theory helped him a lot in leading guerilla warfare. He thought Mao Zedong's spirit was great, and it had a huge influence on the Cuban revolution," said Xu Yicong, former Chinese ambassador to Cuba.

Mr. Castro celebrated his 90th birthday this August. The man spoke of the historical links between China and Cuba and his close ties with generations of Chinese leaders.

China Cuba relations have indeed remained close and pragmatic over the generations, based on mutual respect and warm and frequent high-level exchanges.

China's top leaders met with Fidel Castro every time they visited Cuba. President Xi Jinping paid a visit to the guerilla revolutionary in Havana this June, which was followed by Premier Li's visit this September.

"Both China and Cuba hope to use our good political ties to develop economic cooperation, and push our mutually beneficial relationship to a new level," said Zhang Tuo, Chinese ambassador to Cuba.

China cherishes the traditional brotherly friendship with Cuba. The older Chinese generation still remember the once-popular song "Beautiful Havana", and the well-loved Cuban candies from 40 years ago. 

They will also remember the bearded Fidel Castro, a charismatic leader that led the Caribbean's largest island for 49 years. 

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