Papers praise US President Barack Obama for his courage to normalise ties with Cuba, describing the move as the “most memorable legacy of his presidency”.
Mr Obama made the announcement on Wednesday, saying Washington’s current approach was “outdated”.
US-Cuban ties have been frozen since the early 1960s – a policy of isolation Mr Obama condemned as a failure.
The US will now seek to set up an embassy in Cuba, expand US visitors to Cuba, open up banking and increase caps on how much cash Cubans can post to relatives on to the island.
The China Daily says that Mr Obama has “displayed praiseworthy statesmanship” by “turning a game of no winner into one where everyone wins”.
The editorial criticises the “American brand of democracy” and describes the sanctions on Cuba as an “anachronistic policy” which has continued because of the “ideological cage” American politicians “have built for themselves”.
“Mr Obama will find almost the entire world behind him, because he is truly opening a ‘new chapter’ in his country’s ties with not only Cuba, but much of Latin America,” the article says.
Describing Mr Obama as “courageous”, a commentary in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily points out that the improved ties with Cuba is an important legacy of the Obama diplomacy.
According to the analysis, Mr Obama’s decision also “shows that the hostility towards the Communist regime was unpopular”.
The article adds that the economic sanctions imposed on Cuba have not only “hurt US enterprises” but also “damaged Washington’s influence in Latin America”.
“The success of Washington’s Asia-Pacific policy is limited… It seems that the US has not been able to fully return to Asia, and now it has started to strategise its moves in the Americas,” the article concludes.
Several media outlets are also discussing how the thaw in US-Cuba ties will impact China’s relationship with the Communist state, which papers describe as an “old friend” and “brother”.
An article in the Haiwai Net argues that China’s relations with Cuba will not be affected by the improved US-Cuba ties.
“After careful calculations, we are very clear that we should develop multilateral relations to protect our self-interest. An open and more developed Cuba will only benefit us,” it says.
Experts interviewed by the Global Times say that the normalisation in Washington-Havana relations “will benefit China both politically and economically”.
“Western countries like the US will better understand socialist countries through renewed relations with Cuba, and that will further strengthen Sino-US relations,” says Shen Dingli, an expert on American politics at Fudan University.
Meanwhile, state media express optimism that President Vladimir Putin is capable of bringing Russia out of the current economic crisis.
Russia is on the verge of recession due to falling oil prices and sanctions over its role in the Ukraine crisis.
Mr Putin on Thursday blamed “outside factors” for the currency hitting an all-time low. He admitted that it could take two years for the country to recover from its current economic troubles.
A commentary in the state-run Xinhua News Agency says Mr Putin has displayed “confidence” during the press conference and that “Russia has enough ammunition” to deal with the situation.
And finally, some papers criticise the US for allowing the screening of The Interview, a new comedy film about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Sony Pictures recently withdrew the film after threats from hackers. The US on Friday said that the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures was a serious national security matter.
Chinese papers, however, feel that the US administration should have never allowed the screening of the film.
An article in the Beijing News says the US holds “double standards” by even permitting the release of the movie that was previously scheduled to screen during Christmas.
“When it comes to stories about assassinating US presidents, the characters are usually fictitious in most movies. That is why the US has shown double standards by allowing the screening of The Interview,” says the article.
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