BEIJING, April 5 (Xinhua) -- China and Brunei agreed on Friday to nurture their relations at a higher level as "strategic" and "Cooperative", vowing to step up bilateral cooperation in areas like energy and infrastructure.
The agreement was reached while Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with the visiting Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in Beijing.
Xi praised China-Brunei relations that featured mutual respect and equality as a regional model for small and big nations to harmoniously coexist and harvest mutual benefits and common prosperity.
"Strategic and cooperative China-Brunei relations will boost bilateral cooperation and play a leading role to promote regional peace and development," Xi said.
He stressed the two nations should pay sufficient attention to each other's key concerns and honor their independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity as well as the development paths chosen to fit their domestic situation.
"China encourages its companies to actively involve themselves into Brunei's infrastructure and agriculture development and looks for further progress on bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas, petrochemical and renewable energy sectors," Xi told Hassanal.
The Chinese president also highlighted the country's foreign policy with neighboring countries, calling on the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to jointly safeguard the peace and stability of the South China Sea and resolve disputes via direct friendly dialogue and consultation between the involved sovereign states.
China will work actively with Brunei, who chairs the ASEAN in 2013, to eliminate any possibilities that might undermine friendly cooperation with ASEAN and reinforce peace and stability in the region, Xi noted.
China will continue to back ASEAN's leading role on East Asia affairs, he added.
Echoing Xi's views, Hassanal acknowledged China's development as a major contributor to boost regional development and prosperity.
Brunei believes the ASEAN-China ties will continue to grow and involved parties should seek for peaceful resolutions to disputes concerning the South China Sea via dialogue and consultation based on the the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties, Hassanal said.
He also pledged an active role that Brunei will play to nurture ties between the ASEAN and China.
Hassanal is the first foreign head of state Xi has received after he was elected Chinese president in March. The two leaders will attend the opening ceremony of the annual Boao Forum for Asia on Sunday in southern China's Hainan Province.