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The First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Raul Castro, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam met in the Cuban capital, Monday, to discuss bilateral relations between the two Socialist states.

Raul Castro and Phan Binh Minh exchanged words "in a friendly atmosphere on the historic and excellent relations between the peoples, parties and government" of the two countries, according to footage broadcast by Cuban state television.

During the meeting they also discussed "the respective experiences in the construction of socialism" in Cuba and Vietnam.

Minh, who serves as the Vietnamese foreign minister, also met with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Monday; during their meeting they ratified the expansion of trade, economic and other cooperation relations.

Minh also met with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, who said that bilateral economic, trade and investment relations and cooperation were "advancing well and had a promising future," adding that contacts with Vietnam were important for Cuba in terms of "the experiences of socialist construction."

Vietnam is Cuba's No. 2 trade partner in Asia, trailing only China, with bilateral trade totaling $220 million in 2017 and projected, according to official estimates, to possibly hit $500 million in 2020.

Cuba and Vietnam currently have or expect to have projects or joint ventures in areas such as food, renewable energy, science and technology, justice, consumer goods and construction materials.

The Southeast Asian nation exports rice, coal, chemicals, textiles and electronics to Cuba, which mainly sells pharmaceutical products to Vietnam.

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