Obama’s visit to Cuba is seen as a ‘win-win’

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page - By WU JIAO and WANG XU in Bei­jing Con­tact the writ­ers at wu­jiao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama will end decades of hos­til­ity and mis­trust by vis­it­ing Ha­vana in March, in a swan song ges­ture dur­ing the fi­nal year of his pres­i­dency. Ob­servers said the move will also free Bei­jing to de­velop closer ties with Ha­vana with­out hin­drance from Wash­ing­ton.

“Next month, I’ll travel to Cuba to ad­vance our progress and ef­forts that can im­prove the lives of the Cuban peo­ple,” Obama wrote on Twit­ter on Thurs­day.

Shi Yin­hong, a pro­fes­sor of US stud­ies at Ren­min Univer­sity, said that the thaw­ing of ties has cre­ated a win-win sit­u­a­tion.

Af­ter be­ing the tar­get of US-backed sanc­tions for more than 50 years, Cuba will see its in­ter­nal en­vi­ron­ment and eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment greatly im­prove, and the US is re­gain­ing re­spect from the Latin Amer­i­can com­mu­nity, Shi said.

Tao Wen­zhao, an Amer­i­can stud­ies re­searcher at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said Wash­ing­ton re­al­ized that its em­bargo poli­cies were not work­ing and that at­tempts to iso­late the is­land dis­tanced it from Latin Amer­ica.

They are cor­rect­ing their ap­proach, Tao said, and as an “old friend” and “brother” of Cuba, China should ben­e­fit from im­proved US-Cuba ties, since it means Bei­jing will have more to of­fer a Cuba that is no longer sub­ject to Wash­ing­ton’s trade em­bargo.

Zuo Xiy­ing, an in­ter­na­tional stud­ies spe­cial­ist at the Na­tional Academy of De­vel­op­ment and Strat­egy at Ren­min Univer­sity of China, said the thaw means the US will be able to de­vote more en­ergy to Asia-Pa­cific affairs once it has soothed re­la­tions in its “back­yard’’ in Latin Amer­ica.

To­gether with his wife, Michelle, Obama will visit Ha­vana on March 21 and 22, dur­ing which time he will meet with Cuban Pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro and “Cubans from dif­fer­ent walks of life”.

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