Cuba's Castro congratulates new Chinese leader

Cuban leader Raul Castro congratulated new Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, citing the socialist ties between the longtime allies.

"I extend my warmest congratulations" to Xi, Castro said in a message read on state television. "We are convinced that under your leadership, this sister country will achieve new successes in building socialism."

China is Cuba's second-largest trading partner after Venezuela, and a vital source of credit for the cash-strapped communist island.

The Chinese parliament earlier named Xi as president four months after he took charge of the Communist Party.