The Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission, General Fan Changlong, has arrived in Cuba for an official visit... hot off the heels of his trip to the U.S. He's leading a high level delegation, and is the most senior Chinese official to visit the country since the U.S. and Cuba began thawing hostilities that lasted over half a century. The discussions are likely to center on how that shift might affect Cuba's relations with China.
General Fan's U.S. trip included talks at the Pentagon with the U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter as well as visits to army bases and an aircraft carrier.
It was seen as an important trip to improve communication between the world's two largest economies amid heightened tensions between China and the U.S. over the South China sea.
His visit to Cuba is the latest in what are regular high level exchanges between senior Cuban and Chinese military officials.
Last year, the chief of China's General Staff, General Fang Fenghui, was here. Cuba's armed forces rely heavily on old Soviet-era equipment, much of it in need of repair and spare parts. The Chinese military has similar hardware and Cuba is looking to Beijing for assistance in maintaining its defense capabilities.
But supplying Cuba is proving problematic particularly with the U.S. Arms embargo still in place.
In February, Colombia detained a Chinese ship bound for Cuba, carrying shell casings and explosives-listed on the ships manifest as grain. China denied any wrongdoing, saying the ship was transporting regular military supplies to Cuba and that it had not violated any international norms.