Cuban President Raul Castro returned to Havana after a 12-day tour of China, Vietnam and Russia aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and economic cooperation with those countries, the official daily Granma said Saturday.

The official daily of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba said that Castro arrived on the island Friday night "after concluding some intense and successful days" of intergovernmental contacts, and was greeted by First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and Interior Minister Abelardo Colome Ibarra.

"So ended more than 10 days of intens work that confirmed once more the strength of the historic ties uniting Cuba with the three countries visited, as well as the undeniable determination to further boost the relations of friendship and cooperation that already characterize us," the daily said.

The Cuban president left Havana on July 1 with a delegation made up of Government Minister Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

After landing in Beijing on July 4, Castro met with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, and the two leaders appointed to become the Asian country's president, now Vice President Xi Jinping, and its premier, current Vice Premier Li Keqiang.

Cuba and China also signed several accords including a loan from the China Development Bank, as well as economic and technical cooperation agreements that entail interest-free loans and donations to the island for a sum not yet announced.

On July 7 Castro began his state visit to Hanoi, where he met with his Vietnamese counterpart, Truong Tan Sang, and other high officials.

Raul Castro's visit to China and Vietnam came at a time when the island is undertaking the Cuban president's economic adjustments to "modernize" the Caribbean country's socialist model, using a process similar to the reforms carried out decades ago by those two Asian countries.

The last stage of Raul Castro's international tour was in Moscow, where he arrived on July 10 with an agenda that included talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, and the head of the Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev.

According to the Kremlin, the main purpose of the visit was to find ways to increase and diversify bilateral trade through a number of projects and joint ventures in the sectors of energy, transport, telecommunications, space travel and pharmaceuticals. EFE