Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz's official visit to Vietnam from September 28 to October 2 at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh will be the first visit outside Latin America since the Cuban PM took office in December 2019 and the first visit by a high-ranking Cuban leader to Vietnam since 2018.
|Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz__Photo: VNA|
The visit aims to promote the implementation of agreements reached by the two countries’ leaders and develop Vietnam-Cuba special ties, manifesting both countries' determination to further tighten the loyal friendship and solidarity, mutual trust and comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties, States, Governments and peoples.
Over the past nearly 62 years since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties in 1960, the two countries have seen their ties growing in all areas, from politics, economy-trade, national defense-security, agriculture, construction, education, health care, biotechnology, transportation to sports.
The two sides have maintained regular mutual high-level visits, such as those to Cuba by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (April 2012 and March 2018), Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (March 2014), President Truong Tan Sang (2015), President Tran Dai Quang (November 2016), President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (September 2021), and Vietnam visits by President Fidel Castro (February 2003), President Raul Castro (July 2012), President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers of Cuba Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel (November 2018) and Chairman of the Cuban National Assembly Esteban Lazo Hernandez (June 2017).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders continued to maintain contact via online meetings, while bilateral cooperative mechanisms were effectively utilized, for example the intern-governmental cooperation committee, Party theoretical workshop, defense policy dialogue at deputy defense ministerial level, and political consultation at deputy foreign ministerial level.
On April 1, 2020, the Vietnam-Cuba trade agreement signed on November 9, 2018 officially took effect, facilitating bilateral trade. Two-way trade hit USD 261.7 million in 2021, up 46.6 percent annually. The figure reached 106 million USD in the first eight months of this year, down 20 percent year-on-year.
The two countries are actively pushing cooperation in agriculture, with several joint projects in rice, maize farming and aquaculture producing good results. The two sides are studying and deploying more projects, with a rice farming project for 22019-2023 now underway, and agreement reached on the third phase of their joint aquaculture project for 2022-2025.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam and Cuba also enhanced vaccine supply cooperation. During Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Cuba last year, a contract on 5 million doses of Cuba’s Abdala vaccine was reached. In January 2022, the Cuban Prime Minister announced readiness to provide Vietnam with 180,000 vaccine doses for children and send 300 medical workers to Vietnam to help the country through the pandemic.
Several Vietnamese firms are embarking on projects regarding the construction of infrastructure at industrial zones and the production of construction materials, washing powder and diapers at Mariel Special Development Zone in San Miguel, Santa Cruz. Vietnamese businesses are increasingly interested in expanding operations in Cuba.
In multilateral diplomacy, both sides have maintained cooperation and mutual support at international organizations and multilateral forums, especially at the United Nations. Recently, Vietnam backed Cuba’s bid to run for a seat at the UN Human Rights Council for the 2021-2023 tenure and supported Cuba’s signing of the ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in 2020. Vietnam also consistently backed the call for an end to the US’s embargo on Cuba.
The upcoming Vietnam visit of the Cuban PM will once again affirm that both sides will continue inheriting and upholding their long-standing ties, and are resolved to take their relationship into a new development period, focusing on economy-trade-investment, to make it on par with their fine political ties.- (VNA/VLLF)