December 28, 2000

Cuba, China sign military cooperation protocol

                  HAVANA, Cuba (Reuters) -- Cuba and China have signed an agreement to
                  strengthen cooperation between their armed forces, Cuban state media said on

                  The protocol was signed on Wednesday by General Fu Quanyou, chief of the
                  General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and by his Cuban
                  counterpart, General Alvaro Lopez.

                  Fu Quanyou was on a five-day goodwill visit to the communist-ruled Caribbean island.

                  Cuba's Armed Forces Minister, General Raul Castro, brother of president Fidel Castro,
                  attended the signing ceremony.

                  Cuban media gave no details of the contents of the accord, saying only that it was aimed at
                  strengthening the "friendship" between the armed forces of the two one-party communist states.

                  Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba's armed forces had a close
                  relationship with the Soviet military, who supplied arms, equipment and training.

                  But over the last decade, Cuba and China have moved to deepen their political
                  and economic ties.

                     Copyright 2000 Reuters.