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Castro Salutes China Anniversary

September 30, 1999

HAVANA (AP) _ President Fidel Castro saluted China Wednesday on the eve of its 50th anniversary, saying that Cuba’s communist ally had been a good role model and friend since the revolution here four decades ago.

``China’s successes have been possible because of an ideology, because of a political science, because of Marxism-Leninism,″ Castro said during a ceremony at Cuba’s military headquarters.

Castro recounted the suffering endured during the Chinese revolution, saying that example gave Cubans the strength to endure nearly a decade of severe economic problems caused by the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Standing at the podium on a stage flanking by red curtains, Chinese Ambassador Wang Chengjia thanked Castro and other Cuban Communist Party leaders for their continued support of his country, and referred to their ``just and heroic struggle.″

Seated on stage were other top leaders of Cuba’s government and Communist Party.

Also during the event, the several hundred people gathered in the small theater sang the Spanish version of the ``Internationale,″ the socialist anthem.

Cuba, a former Soviet ally, began looking to China earlier this decade for guidance in reforming the struggling Cuban economy. So far, Cuba’s economic reforms have been extremely modest compared with the broad market reforms introduced in China.

As part of Cuba’s post-Soviet relations with China, Castro’s brother and designated successor, Raul Castro, head of the Cuban military, made a high profile visit to Beijing in 1997. Fidel Castro made a state visit to China in 1995.

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