Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) shakes hands with visiting Timor-Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao during a welcoming ceremony before their talks in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province, April 9, 2014. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)
SANYA, Hainan, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met here on Wednesday with visiting Timor-Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, and they pledged closer practical cooperation in agriculture, energy and culture.
"China always upholds that countries, big or small, strong or weak,rich or poor, should promote cooperation and seek development on the basis of mutual respect and equality," Li said in the talks.
He said China is ready to work with Timor-Leste to make their bilateral ties a model of state-to-state relations between countries of different sizes, cultural and political systems.
"Both developing countries, China and Timor-Leste face the tasks of developing their economies, improving people's living standards and fighting poverty," according to Li.
As Timor-Leste is an important part of the "maritime Silk Road" proposed by China, China will work with it and other maritime neighbors to push forward development of this trade route.
The Chinese premier also expressed willingness to strengthen ties with Portuguese-speaking countries, including Timor-Leste.
Xanana, who will attend the opening ceremony of the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia on Thursday, spoke highly of China's role in promoting peace and development in Asia and the world.
"Timor-Leste values China as the most important partner in East Asia, and appreciates China's long-term assistance for Timor-Leste's national independence and development," he said.
Xanana also pledged closer cooperation with China concerning the maritime Silk Road construction and ties between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of documents on cooperation in the economy, technology and tourism.
Chinese State Councilor Yang Jing also attended the talks.
China was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Timor-Leste, a Southeast Asian nation whose independence was restored in 2002.