Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) holds talks with Bruneian Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Oct. 11, 2013. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang left here Friday after wrapping up a productive official visit to the Southeast Asian country of Brunei.
During Li's stay, the two sides reached a broad consensus on further advancing their relations and enriching bilateral cooperation so as to lift their strategic cooperative relationship to higher levels.
The Chinese government pays high attention to the development of bilateral relations, Li said in his talks with Bruneian Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah shortly before his departure.
The premier proposed that the two sides carry out closer high-level exchanges and beef up coordination on bilateral and major international affairs.
Moreover, he urged the two countries to promote practical cooperation in such areas as infrastructure construction, agriculture and fishery and bring forth a rapid growth of two-way trade.
Particularly, he added, the two sides need to push forward energy cooperation, and encourage their enterprises to conduct joint exploration and exploitation of maritime oil and gas resources for mutual benefit.
The premier also called for closer people-to-people exchanges between the two nations so as to enhance mutual understanding and pass on the bilateral friendship from generation to generation.
Noting that Brunei holds the rotating chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year, Li praised Brunei's role in ensuring the healthy and steady development of China-ASEAN relations.
For his part, Hassanal hailed the fruitful cooperation between Brunei and China in various fields and China's contribution to regional peace, stability and prosperity, saying China is an important cooperation partner of his country.
Brunei, he said, is willing to work with China to intensify strategic communication, broaden win-win cooperation and promote bilateral relations to higher levels.
Hassanal also expressed Brunei's readiness to boost energy and maritime cooperation with China for common development, and its commitment to further promoting ASEAN-China relations.
In a joint statement released after the talks, the two sides agreed to maintain frequent exchanges and strengthen bilateral consultations at all levels on foreign policy, politics and trade, and pledged to further enhance bilateral cooperation in such areas as trade, energy, infrastructure, agriculture, culture and defense.
Brunei, said the statement, appreciates China's initiatives to upgrade the China-ASEAN free trade area, establish an Asian infrastructure investment bank, and launch a host of projects with support from the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund.
The two sides welcomed the recent signing of a deal between China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Brunei National Petroleum Company Sendirian Berhad on establishing a joint venture on oil field services.
In addition, they pledged to encourage their officials to study other aspects of joint exploration and exploitation of maritime oil and gas resources by relevant enterprises of the two countries in line with the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Meanwhile, they underscored the importance of resolving territorial and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea through peaceful dialogue and consultations by sovereign states directly concerned.
They reiterated their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea, stressing that consultations on a code of conduct should be pushed forward in a gradual and step-by-step manner and on the basis of consensus.
The document also conveyed Hassanal's high appreciation of China's role as a development partner of the East ASEAN Growth Area, a sub-regional economic cooperation initiative grouping Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, and its growing involvement in supporting economic development at the sub-regional level.
Meanwhile, the two sides reiterated their commitment to intensifying consultations on subjects of common interest in such regional and international frameworks as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the UN and the World Trade Organization.
Li arrived here Wednesday for the first leg of his maiden Southeast Asia tour as China's premier, which would also take him to Thailand and Vietnam.
While in Brunei, he attended a series of East Asian leaders' meetings, where he reaffirmed China's commitment to and expounded its policy on promoting regional cooperation and development.