Cuban President Raul Castro, left, and Chinese President Hu Jintao, right, stand side by side during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Thursday, July 5, 2012. Castro is in China for talks with Hu and other leaders, his first visit to his country's key trading partner since taking office as president. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
For the first time since Raul Castro took office after his brother Fidel stepped down, the Cuban president travelled to China to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao, a significant diplomatic trip for the Communist Island regime and the Communist economic superpower. However, much speculation has focused on why it took Castro two days to travel to Asia when it normally takes half that time on commercial flights.
Was there a secret stopover for the Cuban ruler?
Castro landed on the afternoon of July 4th, according to the state-run newspaper, Granma, after he left Sunday from Havana.
"Where was he?" Martha Beatriz Roque, a Cuban dissident asked in a column, according to El Nuevo Herald, describing the mysterious length of the trip derisively as "a state secret."
The bilateral talks with Castro and the Chinese leaders ended with 8 accords, including one on economic trade and investment by China into the Cuban economy.
"You have inherited and developed the beautiful tradition of friendship between China and Cuba and have afforded great importance to the strengthening of relations. We have greatly valued these efforts," Hu Jintao said, according to Cuba and Chinese media reports.
"The close relations we have today with China, and especially with its people, are a source of pride for us," Castro noted at a welcoming ceremony in Beijing.
After Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, China is Cuba's largest trading partner with nearly $2 billion being traded a year by the two countries.
Serafin Gomez is a special campaign correspondent for Fox News Latino, and a Special Events & Politics Producer for FOX News Channel. Fin formerly worked as the Miami Bureau Producer for Fox News Channel where he covered Florida Politics & Latin America. Follow him on Twitter: @Finnygo.