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Castro Embarks on Asia Tour

February 20, 2003

HAVANA (AP) _ President Fidel Castro has left Cuba for a trip to Asia that will include stops in Vietnam, China and Malaysia, where he will attend next week’s Non-Aligned Movement summit.

The Cuban government announcement of the trip came Thursday, hours after the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry said Castro would arrive there Friday. Castro has visited communist Vietnam twice before, in 1973 and 1995.

On Sunday, Castro will go to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, for the Non-Aligned summit. The dates of his stay in communist China were not announced.

The Non-Aligned Movement groups 114 mostly small and developing countries. It was formed during the Cold War to steer a neutral path between the United States and the Soviet Union and has since reinvented itself to confront challenges of globalization and U.S. military and economic might.

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