Beijing Review - - This Week -

China’s am­bas­sador to Cuba, re­ceived on Oc­to­ber 13 the high­est award granted by the Cuban Gov­ern­ment to for­eign diplo­mats, the Friend­ship Medal, for his ef­forts to con­sol­i­date ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

Dur­ing his ten­ure of four years and nine months, the long­est of the 17 Chi­nese am­bas­sadors who have served in the Caribbean coun­try, Zhang helped boost and ex­pand bi­lat­eral ties in all fields and strengthen po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue be­tween the top lead­ers of the two na­tions, said Cuban For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Bruno Ro­driguez at the awards cer­e­mony.

As a re­sult of the en­hance­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions at all lev­els, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping vis­ited Cuba in 2014, and he was fol­lowed by Premier Li Ke­qiang last month.

Both vis­its wit­nessed the sign­ing of im­por­tant agree­ments in biotech­nol­ogy, cy­ber­se­cu­rity, re­new­able en­ergy and med­i­cal re­search, among oth­ers.

Cuban Pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro paid a visit to China in 2012, and first Vice Pres­i­dent Miguel Diaz Canel also vis­ited in both 2013 and 2015.

Zhang thanked the Cuban Gov­ern­ment for the award, say­ing it was a great honor for him to mark the end of his 39-year diplo­matic ca­reer with the medal.

Zhang, 62, also served as am­bas­sador to Bo­livia, Ar­gentina and Venezuela.

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