KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- China and Malaysia have moved to a new level of bilateral cooperation by lifting their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, according to a joint statement issued here Saturday.
The statement, issued as Chinese President Xi Jinping ended a state visit to Malaysia, said the upgrade marked a new level of the bilateral cooperation in such sectors as trade, investment, tourism, education, financial service, infrastructure development and defense.
The two sides reaffirmed their shared desire to maintain close high-level contacts, deepen friendly exchanges and cooperation in all fields and promote new development of the China-Malaysia relationship.
China and Malaysia, the statement noted, also inked a five-year program for economic and trade cooperation, announcing to expand annual bilateral trade to 160 billion U.S. dollars by 2017.
The program will add impetus to the already vibrant economic cooperation, it said.
Besides, the two countries agreed to continuously enhance bilateral people-to-people exchanges and local-level cooperation, the statement said.
They decided to take the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-Malaysia diplomatic relations, due next year, as an opportunity to promote exchanges and cooperation in such fields as education, culture and tourism.
On China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ties, the statement said China and Malaysia agreed to push forward the conclusion of a treaty of good neighborliness and friendly cooperation between China and ASEAN countries, and elevate the cooperation level of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.
The statement said it is very important for China and ASEAN to collaborate extensively in promoting peace, stability, mutual respect and confidence building in the Southeast Asian region as a whole.
China and Malaysia also pledged to safeguard peace and stability of the region, maintaining that disputes should be resolved through peaceful and friendly dialogues and consultations, according to the statement.