BEIJING, Sept.3 (Xinhuanet) -- Cuban troops joined the Chinese military parade in Beijing, with Cuba's first Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel attending the event. Analysts say Cuba's participation in the commemoration underlines the fact that China is one of the island nation's most important strategic partners.
A contingent of Cuban troops were among the thousand or so foreign troops from some 17 countries who joined their Chinese counterparts for the giant military parade through Beijing. Cuba’s First Vice President, Miguel Diaz-Canel also attended the event. Cuba declared war on the Axis powers after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. A close US ally at the time, Cuba was involved in anti-submarine patrols and in escorting Allied convoys through hostile Caribbean and Atlantic waters.
Cuba was never involved in the Pacific theater, but the government here felt it was important to have a military presence in Beijing for the 70th anniversary victory parade.
"It underlines the fact that China is one of Cuba’s most important strategic allies, together with Vietnam and Venezuela. So as we advance in better relations with the United States it’s only natural that Cuba would like to underline, hey guy, yes I want a good relation with the United States but our real good friends are in Beijing,” International affairs analyst Carlos Alzugaray said. Cuba’s military has developed strong working relationship with the Chinese armed forces. In June of this year General Fan Changlong, vice chairman of Central Military Commission visited Cuba, signing a series of cooperation agreements.
In 2014, China’s President Xi Jinping came here, further strengthening ties that go back to the days of Mao Zedong. Cuba was the first country in the Americas to recognize communist China. Later, after the Soviet Union collapsed causing severe economic hardship in Cuba, China came to offer its support.
Most Cubans know little of their country’s role in World War II. Sending troops to march in Beijing is a reminder that this Caribbean island did play its part.