Havana, Sep 19 (EFE).- The president of Cuba received his Vietnamese counterpart in Havana on Sunday and awarded him the José Martí Order, the highest distinction granted by the government of the island nation.
Miguel Díaz-Canel and Nguyen Xuan Phuc presided over their respective delegations in official talks held at the Palace of the Revolution, as well as the signing of cooperation agreements in the public health and biopharmaceutical, justice, food industry, communications, investment and construction sectors, and a joint economic action plan.
Also present was Cuban Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Cabrisas, and the ministers of foreign trade and investment as well as public health and the head of the Central Bank, among others. Representing Vietnam were leaders of the ruling Communist Party, several ministers and deputy ministers and other officials.
At the ceremony to award the José Martí Order to Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the Cuban government highlighted his “invaluable contribution” in strengthening the “historic” relations between the two countries.
The Vietnamese president said the award was a great honor, and highlighted faithful and transparent bilateral ties, as well as the solidarity and friendship between the countries that he said will be eternally indestructible.
Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who became Vietnam’s president in April, arrived in the Caribbean country on Saturday on his first official visit that will last two days.
Since then, he has held meetings with the president of the National Assembly of the People’s Power (Cuba’s unicameral parliament), Esteban Lazo, and Prime Minister Manuel Marrero, in which both sides confirmed the good state of bilateral relations and reaffirmed their willingness to strengthen cooperation in several areas, according to state media.
Among the first acts on the agenda of the Vietnamese president was the signing of memorandum of understanding for scientific and technical collaboration between Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) and the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (POLYVAC) in Vietnam.
It was also announced that the Vietnam regulatory authority had approved the emergency use of the Cuban Covid-19 vaccine Abdala, developed by the CIGB, which will be imported by POLYVAC.
At the end of August, the Hanoi government announced Cuba’s commitment to send its Covid-19 vaccines to the Asian country and the transfer of technology to produce them on Vietnamese soil.
The visit of the Vietnamese president, the first head of state to have traveled to the island in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, will conclude with a tribute to the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, in the city of Santiago de Cuba.
Cuba and Vietnam established diplomatic relations in 1960 and maintain a close relationship as ideological allies.
Vietnam is Cuba’s second largest trading partner in Asia after China and among the top 20 globally, with bilateral trade of more than $340 million in recent years, according to official data.
The nations have joint projects and investments in food industry, renewable energy, science and technology, justice, and the production of consumer goods and construction materials.
The Asian country exports rice, coal, chemical products, textiles and electronic components to Cuba, and imports mainly pharmaceutical products from the island. EFE