HAVANA TIMES – Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang will arrive in Cuba on June 25, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Friday. From Havana, Wang will go on to Brasília, to attend a China-Brazil Coordination Committee meeting.
Wang’s visit to Cuba comes at the invitation of Cuba’s Vice President of the Council of Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas.
During his one-day stay, Wang will hold talks with Cabrisas, meet with other Cuban leaders, and exchange views on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of common concern, the official announcement said.
“We hope this visit will help further strengthen friendship, deepen mutual trust, promote mutually beneficial cooperation and inject new impetus to the development of China-Cuba relations,” Hong said.
The visit coincides with the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties this year, the Chinese spokesman pointed out.
According to The New York Times, the 60-year-old Wang “has become a torchbearer for advocates of free-market economics and quasi-enlightened governance.”
Although not exactly a liberal, Wang “stands out for his paeans to political liberalization and the virtues of American-style individualism,” The Times says.
Xiao Bin, a university professor in Guangzhou, Wang’s hometown, has described the Vice Premier as “the main receptacle for the expectations and hopes of China’s reformers.”
A critic of authoritarian rule, Wang was once quoted as saying that “if China doesn’t reform, we shall be slow-boiled like frogs.”
In a related development, Gen. Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, arrived in Havana on Monday (June 15). China Central TV described his visit as “the latest in what has become a regular series of high-level military exchanges between China and Cuba.”
General Fan is the most senior military official to visit Cuba since Dec. 17, when Cuba and the United States announced that they planned to restore diplomatic relations. In May of last year, the chief of the Chinese Army’s general staff, Fang Fenghui, toured a tank regiment near Havana.
Also last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Cuba.