Donation announcement comes as Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel concludes a visit to Beijing, part of a rare foreign trip.
China has donated $100 million to Cuba to help it survive a crippling economic crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, the island nation’s Deputy Prime Minister Alejandro Gil said.
The donation announcement on Saturday came as Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel concluded a visit to China, part of a rare foreign trip.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Diaz-Canel met on Friday and “the offer arose of a donation of around $100 million by China,” Gil told Cuban state television.
Gil, who is also Cuba’s economy minister, said the money would go toward “priorities” on the island, which has been rocked by its worst economic crisis in three decades.
Diaz-Canel concluded his visit to China later on Friday and continued on a global tour designed to gain support for Cuba in renovating an electrical system that has failed repeatedly, causing frequent blackouts.
Gil said leaders of the two countries also discussed “the subject of the debt” that Cuba has accrued with China but did not specify the size of the debt.
“Our president explained the situation that we confront, and there was understanding from China. We are seeking mutually acceptable formulas for the planning and restructuring of the debts,” Gil said.
Chinese President Xi pledged support for Cuba’s “core interests” on Friday at the meeting with his Cuban counterpart.
In comments to Diaz-Canel, Xi said China hoped to “strengthen coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs” with Cuba.The two will “go hand in hand down the road of building socialism with each’s own characteristics,”Xi was quoted as saying in a Chinese government news release.
Diaz-Canel’s visit is a further sign of how China is trying to jump-start its in-person diplomacy after a virtual shutdown of such exchanges during the pandemic.
Diaz-Canel arrived in China after a visit to Moscow, where he and Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the “traditional friendship” between their sanctions-hit nations.
China is Cuba’s second biggest trade partner after Venezuela. Both nations are strong political allies of Cuba.
Earlier on his trip, Diaz-Canel visited Algeria, where President Abdelmadjid Tebboune promised to ship fuel to Cuba, donate a photovoltaic power plant and cancel interest on debts, Gil said.
Diaz-Canel’s trip was also to include stops in Türkiye.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, China and Cuba grew closer, just as China and Russia gradually established warmer ties.