US Criticisms Are an Attack on Mutual Trust, China Says

China demanded on Monday that the United States immediately stop criticising and accusing Beijing, and emphasized that those criticisms are a direct attack on mutual trust and shadow bilateral ties.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed insatisfaction with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, because Washington is gradually increasing frictions by making groundless statements on China's domestic and foreign policy.

He pointed out that in Taiwan's specific case, the US actions damage China's rights on that island, which is a inalienable part of its territory.

Finally, Wang demanded that the White House stop that counterproductive behiavior and, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, improve communication with China.

For his part, Pompeo referred to his country's 'concern' about some actions by China, and said that he was interested in analyzing them, due to the importance of relations between the two powers.

Wang and Pompeo made statements before meeting in private to review the results of Sunday's meeting between the US secretary of State and the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong-un.

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Cuban Mission at UN Warns over US Blockade's Damage on Culture

Despite the increasing interest in cultural exchange between Cuba and the United States, the blockade currently hinders any interaction in that and other spheres, warns Cuba''s mission to the UN.

Since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, cultural policy has been a priority for the Cuban Government and this was demonstrated in the events held at the Kennedy Centre in Washington last May, according to a press release.

But from April 2017 to March 2018, the Cuban cultural sector has suffered the slap of the North American fence.

Last year, 497 musicians and professionals from the United States would participate in presentations and events in Cuba. Due to the tightening of the blockade, these artists could not participate in the agreed program, according to the statement.

Besides, in 2017 and at the beginning of 2018, 15 U.S. groups cancelled their visits to Cuba, including nearly 300 people.

On the other hand, the US blockade hampers the commercialization and promotion of music, visual and performing arts and literature: in most cases, Cuban groups traveling to the United States cannot receive income from their performances.

The record company Bis Music contacted several U.S. music distribution and publishing companies interested in Cuba. However, for fear of being sanctioned due to the blockade regulations, these companies did not complete the process.

Cuban groups such as Revolution, Rakatan and Havana Queen were also unable to sign direct contracts with U.S. businessmen.

In 2016 and 2017, the Havana International Book Fair (FILH) hosted the first and second meetings of Publishers, Distributors and Literary Agents from Cuba and the United States, where actions of rapprochement and cooperation began.

However, as a result of the new measures adopted by Washington, it was not possible to hold the third meeting during the 2018 FILH.

Moreover, due to the conditions imposed by the blockade, it is impossible for the Animation Studios of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Arts and Industry to obtain necessary software licenses.

Similarly, they cannot directly access one of the most important events in this area, the American Film Market.

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Cuban President Extendes Talks with U.S. Businesspeople

Cuban President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, meets today in this city with businesspeople and executives of organizations linked to travel and air industries in the United States.

The meeting is included in the Caribbean head of government's busy agenda, in the context of his participation in the high-level segment of the 73th session period of the General Assembly of the United Nations, where he spoke on Wednesday this week.

According to the director general of the U.S. in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, the issue to discuss by both parts is related to the human contact between Cubans and North Americans and travel limitations.

It is technically banned for a U.S. citizen to go to Cuba as a tourist, he high official reminded reporters of his country, alluding to restrictions imposed and maintained by Washington, despite the demand to eliminate them.

Díaz-Canel dialogued yesterday with businesspeople of the agricultural sector of the U.S. and highlighted this is one of the groups that defend the most relations between both countries.

Although time is short in this visit to the U.N. General Assembly, we had a lot of interest in this meeting and transfer a message of 'peace, unity, comprehension and also summons, pointed the head of State.

Despite the measures taken by the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump, we continue open to dialogue, stressed the Cuban president.

In his opinión, the retreat in bilateral links is only related to interests of a minority that, profiting from the policy, tries to put a break to approaches.

He ratified to businessmen of the agricultural sector that Cuba has a message of dialogue, while it is base don respect, without previous conditions or impositions.

He also referred to the influence that the agricultural sector may have in the demand to put an end to blockade, taking into account how that group negotiates or shows inconformity with the blockade's restrictions.

'For us it is very important that persons like yourselves can visit Cuba, talk and exchange ideas so our truth is really known', expressed Diaz-Canel to his interlocutors.

Also on Thursday, the Cuban president exchanged points of view with members of the National Council of Churches of the United States, who ratified their rejection to the blockade.

During the meeting, Diaz-Canel recognized the long tradition of friendship between the peoples of Cuba and the United States and thanked the solidarity of that ecumenical body, reflected in multitude of moments and actions.

In his fifth day in this city, the Cuban head of State also talked with the prime ministers of Vietnam and Lesotho, Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, respectively, and the Vice President of Costa Rica, Epsy Campbell.

He also had a meeting with UN General Assembly President, Maria Fernanda Espinosa where both approached the importance of strengthening South-South cooperation and the commitment to multilateralism.

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State Agriculture Officials Underscore Commitment to Enhanced Trading Relationship with President of Cuba

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) President and New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte, along with Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Jewel Bronaugh, Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Reviczky, and NASDA CEO Dr. Barbara P. Glenn joined newly elected Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel for breakfast this morning on the fringes of his first visit to the US. The breakfast was an opportunity to further advance collaboration and seek to continue NASDA’s longstanding engagement with the Cuban government and people.

“We fully support enhancing agricultural trade and cooperation with Cuba, and believe the current U.S. embargo should be lifted,” said Witte. “Many state agricultural officials have existing relationships in Cuba, and we are here today to forge and enhance new partnerships between NASDA Members and Cuban officials, particularly in agriculture.”

NASDA Members underscored the need for exchanges on biotechnology research and knowledge, as well as cooperation on sanitary and phytosanitary issues.

“Over the past 55 years, Cuba has gone from our 9th largest to our 55th largest agricultural export destination. Knowledge exchanges, streamlined visa laws and regulations to promote trade activities, and a clear and consistent regulatory environment will contribute to a prosperous agricultural trading relationship for American farmers and ranchers with Cuba.”

NASDA represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government, and stakeholders.

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Cuba and US to establish first joint venture in field of biotechnology

Cuba announced on Wednesday the establishment of the first U.S.-Cuba company in the field of biotechnology.

The new enterprise, under the name Innovative Immunotherapy Alliance SA, is a joint venture between the Havana-based Center for Molecular Immunology and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center of the United States. It will operate out of the Special Development Zone of Mariel, west of Havana, and will be devoted to research and development of new anti-cancer drugs.

A press release by Biocubafarma, a Cuban biotechnology and pharmaceutical umbrella group, said the new biotechnology company will have among its products the drug CIMAVax-EGF, a therapy against lung cancer, and three additional immunotherapy treatments developed in Cuba for different types of tumors.

During the first years the company will focus on scientific and clinical research to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of these novel treatments in the U.S. If the studies are successful, said the communique, the company will then be able to export the products for the benefit of patients in the U.S., once the relevant approvals have been obtained.

The Cuban press release calls the joint venture establishment a historic step in scientific cooperation between the U.S. and Cuba that will allow for the advancement of research and the development of new anti-cancer drugs potentially prolonging and improving the lives of thousands of patients in the United States.

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U.S. Rep. Castor Meets with Cuban President, Stresses Importance of Continued Dialogue and Engagement

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released the following statement after meeting with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel during his visit to the United Nations General Assembly today:

“For the first time in nearly six decades, the world is seeing Cuba without a Castro at the helm. For the United States, this is a new opportunity for improved relations with our neighbor just 90 miles off the Florida coast – one we cannot afford to let slip by. During the meeting, I stressed the importance of continued dialogue and engagement between the U.S. and Cuba to benefit the citizens of both countries. President Díaz-Canel expressed the hope for normal relations between the two countries as well.

“I shared the desire of Tampa families and businesses for greater opportunities in education, trade, health care, agriculture and more. The Cuban government has sent mixed messages and not followed through on some shared business plans during the most significant transition of power that occurred over the past couple of years. Cuba’s new leader has the opportunity to usher in a number of positive changes on the island and we encouraged him to focus on improving the everyday lives of Cubans including increased access to the internet and support for the Cuban private sector.

“Now, with the Trump Administration’s return to Cold War policies toward the island, it is more difficult to build trust and successfully push for improvements in family travel and human rights. At a time of historic transition in the leadership of Cuba and revision to its constitution, Trump has practically shut down the American embassy and America’s presence on the island including political officers that monitor human rights and promote American interests. This is unfortunate and unwise.

“Our wide-ranging conversation included a bipartisan and bicameral group of members of Congress and ranged from renewable energy, human rights, agriculture, travel, Venezuela, Colombia, telecommunications and even Major League Baseball. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, director general of the United States Department at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Carlos Fernández de Cossío, and Cuban Ambassador to the United States José Cabañas also were in attendance, as well as President Díaz-Canel’s wife Lis Cuesta Peraza.”

U.S. Rep. Castor visited Cuba in 2013, and upon her return she called for lifting the Cuba embargo and sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary Kerry outlining the changes, challenges, and opportunities she saw for modernizing relations with the island. Since then, she has brought Cuban Ambassador Jose Cabañas to Tampa to discuss greater engagement and economic reforms, held Tampa/Cuba forums to educate the Tampa Bay region’s families and businesses on the evolving landscape, attended the opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. and filed bipartisan legislation to lift the Cuba embargo to end the status quo in Cuba and make real progress on human rights. U.S. Rep. Castor revived the House bipartisan Cuba Working Group to build broader support in Congress for greater engagement with Cuba and has led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to the island to survey progress and examine travel, trade, jobs, internet access, human rights and agriculture. She has been critical of President Trump’s decision to reinstate failed isolationist policies towards Cuba.

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Cuba's President Addresses Bilateral Ties with U.S. Lawmakers

Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel met on Monday with Republican and Democrat members of the United States Congress, to whom he ratified the will to promote the advancement of bilateral relations.

During the meeting, held at the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN, the President also referred to the willingness to take advantage of the potential of cooperation based on equality and mutual respect.

Before Senators and Representatives, Diaz-Canel affirmed that the setback in relations and the persisting blockade are harming the interests of both nations.

He also said that in this context obstacles to the economic development of Cuba are also extended.

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The Cuban leader thanked the effort of the lawmakers attending the meeting to facilitate a rapprochement between the two countries and urged them to keep up the work to that purpose.

Diaz-Canel also referred to Cuba's political priorities, especially the constitutional reform process in which the population is participating broadly.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, one of the attendees, called the meeting a very good and constructive discussion, and expressed interest in promoting economic activities favorable to both countries.

'It will be a challenge with Donald Trump's administration, but I think the next Congress will have new people who support trade between the United States and Cuba,' he added.

Wyden, who referred to the midterm elections next November, said that counting on more lawmakers for that end would have very positive effects.

For his part, Congressman Gregory Meeks, in response to a question from Prensa Latina, considered unfair the restrictions Americans face to travel to Cuba.

This makes no sense, Cuba is not a threat to the United States, it is only 90 miles away, and it would be favorable and helpful for both countries to ensure that relations improve and that the travel ban disappear, said the Democrat lawmaker.

According to the senator, most U.S. citizens want the travel ban and the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington more than 55 years ago end.

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