Updated: 04/21/2014 04:28 | By Agence France-Presse

Chinese foreign minister starts Latin America tour

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Cuba Sunday, the first stop on a tour of four Latin America countries.

Chinese foreign minister starts Latin America tour

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds a meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez, at the Foreign Ministry in Havana, on April 20, 2014 - by Yamil Lage

The purpose of the stop in Havana was to pave the way later this year for a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"We are going to be working on political preparations for ... the upcoming visit of President Xi Jinping to this island," Wang said.

China is Cuba's number two economic partner after Venezuela. Beijing also is a critical source of financing for the Americas' only Communist-run nation, which is cash-strapped and cannot get financing from most lenders.

The top Chinese diplomat was due to stroll around Spanish-colonial era Old Havana later, and sources said a meeting with President Raul Castro looked like a possibility before Wang heads to Caracas.

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