Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.

In 2013, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Cuba continued to grow their mutually beneficial, friendly and cooperative relations at a fast pace and expand their exchanges and cooperation in various fields.

The two countries enjoyed increasing political trust. In February, a new National Assembly of People's Power was elected in Cuba. Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao sent a joint message of congratulations on the reelection of Raúl Castro Ruz as President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers. NPC Chairman Wu Bangguo sent a congratulatory message to Esteban Lazo Hernández on his election as President of the National Assembly of People's Power. In March, President Raúl sent a message of congratulations to Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang respectively on their election as Chinese President and Premier of the State Council. President Lazo sent separate congratulatory messages to Zhang Dejiang and Yu Zhengsheng on their election as NPC Chairman and CPPCC Chairman. In 2013, President Raúl sent several messages of condolences to President Xi and Premier Li following the natural disasters that hit some parts of China. In June, First Vice President of the Council of State and First Vice President of the Council of Ministers Miguel Díaz- Canel Bermúdez paid an official visit to China. President Xi, Premier Li and Vice President Li Yuanchao met and held talks with him respectively.

The two countries maintained frequent exchanges at various levels. Visits to Cuba were paid by Guo Jinlong, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, Li Zhaozhuo, CPPCC Vice Chairman, Hao Chiyong, Vice Minister of Justice, Yi Gang, Deputy Governor of the People's Bank of China, Ma Rupei, Vice Minister of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, Zhao Shi, Vice President of China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, and Luo Haocai, President of China Society for Human Rights Studies. On the sidelines of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla. Visits to China were paid by Gladys Bejerano, Vice President of the Council of State and Comptroller General, Homero Acosta, Secretary of the Council of State, Foreign Minister Rodríguez, José Ramón Balaguer, Head of the International Relations Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Rolando Alberto Alfonso, Head of the Ideological Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Elba Rosa Pérez, Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, María del Carmen Concepción González, Minister of Food Industry, Gustavo Rodríguez, Minister of Agriculture, Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, and Inés María Chapman, President of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources.

China and Cuba supported each other in international affairs. At the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, China voted in favor of Cuba's draft resolution entitled Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo Imposed by the United States of America Against Cuba for the 22nd time in a row. The two sides carried out close cooperation and coordination on elections at multilateral organizations and on such issues as human rights and climate change.

Economic cooperation and trade proceeded smoothly. China is Cuba's second largest trading partner, and Cuba is China's largest trading partner in the Caribbean region. Bilateral cooperation moved forward steadily in digital TV, agriculture, biological science and technology and infrastructure. Investment and trade promotion agencies of the two countries continued to promote mutual understanding between their enterprises through such important platforms as China International Fair for Investment and Trade, China Import and Export Fair, Havana International Fair and Cuba-China Business Council. Cuba's purchase of bulk carriers and port cranes was completed. In September, the XXVI Session of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission for Economic and Trade Relations was held in Beijing. The two sides signed a number of cooperation documents including the Bilateral Economic Agenda Between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Cuba 2013-2017.

The two countries had vibrant exchanges and cooperation in culture, education, health and science and technology. The Wu Opera Troupe of Zhejiang Province staged performances of "Happy Chinese New Year" in Cuba. The "Beijing Night" acrobatic show and "Beijing Charm" photo exhibition were held in Havana. Fujian People's Art Theatre put on the drama Thunderstorm in Cuba. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage, General Administration of Sport of China and National Library of China enhanced exchanges and cooperation with their Cuban counterparts. Sino-Cuba Joint Working Group on Biotechnology held its seventh meeting in Beijing. In August, the plaque was unveiled for the Sino-Cuba Center for Molecular Immunology in Beijing, a project jointly built by the two countries.

Editor: 曹家宁