BEIJING: China on Thursday welcomed the re-establishment of formal ties between the US and Cuba, despite the move representing a reconciliation between Beijing’s longstanding Communist ally and its greatest diplomatic rival.
Washington and Havana on Wednesday agreed a historic deal to re-establish full diplomatic relations, severed 54 years ago in the heat of the Cold War.
Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro exchanged letters agreeing to unfreeze ties on July 20, when embassies can be reopened.
Obama hailed the deal as a “historic step forward” that would end a failed and archaic US policy of isolating the Caribbean island, which like China is one of the world’s few remaining Communist states.
Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the decision was an “important step” that “serves the common interests of the two countries and two peoples, contributes to regional stability and development and also meets the long-term and universal aspiration of the international community”.
“It is a good thing,” she told reporters at a regular briefing. “We are pleased with that and we also welcome and support that.”
She urged the US to remove its remaining embargoes and sanctions against Cuba.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the island last year, his final stop on a Latin American tour that also included Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.
Cuba, the only one-party communist state in the Americas, began opening up its economy in 2008 and is keen for more Chinese investment.
During Xi’s visit, China and Cuba signed more than two dozen bilateral agreements ranging from a credit line to modernise a port to the development of golf courses.
They also signed agreements in finance, agriculture, industry, health, biotechnology, oil, energy, environment, education, telecommunications, use of cyberspace and digital television.