Cuban–Vietnamese relations are the interstate relations between the Republic of Cuba and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The relations are based on trade, credits, and investments which have increased significantly since the 1990s and on shared ideological beliefs – they are both socialist states. Diplomatic relations between the two countries was established in December 1960. Since then, Vietnam has become Cuba's second-largest trading partner in Asia, with Vietnam trailing behind China.
According to Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Cuba's Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Cuba's bilateral relations with Vietnam is committed to consolidate "the special relationship, loyal friendship, and comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam, governments and peoples". Diaz, who is also Chairman of the Cuba–Vietnam Cooperation Subcommittee, said the goal of both nations was to make economic cooperation on a par with their political relationship. Trịnh Đình Dũng, the Minister of Construction and the Head of the Vietnam–Cuba Cooperation Subcommittee, said Vietnam would do its best to promote bilateral cooperation "in economics, trade, culture, education, and science and technology, as expected by both Parties and peoples."
During his five-day visit to Cuba Nguyễn Phú Trọng headed a delegation consisting of such high-level officials as Phạm Quang Nghị, Nguyễn Thiện Nhân and Phạm Bình Minh among others. During his visit, Nguyễn Phú Trọng received the Order of José Marti, the highest distinction given by the Cuban Council of State. Before leaving, Nguyễn Phú Trọng said Vietnam would donate 5,000 tons of rice on behalf of the Vietnamese people to Cuba. The delegation was sendt of by José Ramón Balaguer, a member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Cuba, at the José Martí International Airport. In the aftermath of Nguyễn Phú Trọng visit to Cuba, Victor Gaute Lopez, a member of the Secretariat, said Cuba and Vietnam would work side-to-side in their goal to construct a socialist society. Following Raúl Castro's July 2012 visit, Cuban–Vietnamese relations are said to have entered a new phase. According to Castro, the "Cuban people will forever be side by side with its Vietnamese peers to nurture the brotherhood between the two nations so that it will continue to grow and flourish. I believe that is the wish of both peoples." Nguyễn Phú Trọng shared his sentiments, and said "The [Castro's] visit promotes a new development in the relations between the two Parties, and Governments, and the realization of recently signed joint agreements and declarations. Vietnam has pledged to promote economic and trade measures that match the new circumstances and interests of each country." Nguyễn Sinh Hùng, the Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam, urged for more direct cooperation with Cuba after Castro's visit, and established the Vietnamese–Cuban Parliamentary Friendship Group so as to "bilateral ties between both legislative bodies to a new level."
Vietnam is a political and economic ally of Cuba, and bilateral trade consists mostly of rice, textiles, footwear, computers, electronics, wood and coffee. Trade between the two countries exceeds $500 million US dollars. During his visit to Vietnam in October 2012, Marino Murillo expressed hope that Vietnam would support Cuba in further developing agricultural development, laying emphasise on the cultivation of food and industrial crops.
Joaquin Quintas Sola, the Vice Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, visited Hanoi on 18 September 2012 and met personally with Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, the Prime Minister of Vietnam. The Vietnamese Government stated it wished that cooperation in the field of national cooperation, laying emphasise on military technology, army building and officer training, would increase.
Updating the Cuban model
In recent years, under the rule of Raúl Castro, the Communist Party of Cuba has tried to update the Cuban socialist model by introducing private ownership and entrepreneurship. Nguyễn Phú Trọng, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, visited Havana, Cuba in April 2012, while Raúl Castro visited Vietnam in July the same year. During his visit to Vietnam, Castro told Trương Tấn Sang that it was a great honour to be able to visit Vietnam again.
Murillo, a Vice President of Cuba and the man in charge of the implementation of the Cuban economic reforms, visited Vietnam in October 2012. During his visit, Murillo met with General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng, and other high-level officials such as Nguyen Van Dua, Deputy Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, and Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, a Deputy Prime Minister. The point of the visit was to learn from the Vietnamese reform experience and the socialist-oriented market economy in general. In particular, Murillo was interested in how to establish single member limited liability companies and to learn from the city's experience in accelerating the equitisation of State-owned enterprises into public limited companies.
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