Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) holds a welcome ceremony for Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 13, 2017. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
BEIJING, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah here on Wednesday, with the two agreeing to promote cooperation within the Belt and Road Initiative, and work for stronger bilateral ties.
"China appreciates Brunei's efforts in strengthening China-ASEAN relations, and hopes to align the Belt and Road Initiative with ASEAN's development plan," Xi said.
Calling the two countries close neighbors across the sea, mutually reliable friends and partners, Xi said the two countries have established strategic cooperative ties, cemented political mutual trust, and achieved fruitful cooperation over the years.
This year marks the start of the second 25 years of China-Brunei diplomatic relations. China-Brunei ties are at a key stage of development, Xi said, adding China is ready to share governance experience with Brunei, synergize their development strategies, and promote closer cooperation in various areas.
He called on both sides to maintain high-level exchanges, deepen political mutual trust and support each other on issues concerning respective core interests and major concerns.
Xi appreciated Brunei's support for the Belt and Road Initiative. The two leaders agreed to boost closer cooperation in such areas as infrastructure, energy, halal food, agriculture, fishery, and the digital economy.
He asked the two countries to cement defense and law-enforcement cooperation, as well as exchanges in education, sports, public health, tourism, media and other areas.
The two countries should enhance cooperation in regional and international affairs, and coordination in frameworks such as the United Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Xi said.
Regarding the situation in the South China Sea, Xi said it has stabilized and showed positive momentum. "China hopes to work with Brunei and parties concerned to make the South China Sea the sea of peace, friendship and cooperation."
The Sultan congratulated on China's achievements, and expressed support for the Belt and Road Initiative.
He hailed the progress of China-Brunei ties since the forging of diplomatic relations, inviting more Chinese enterprises to invest in his country.
Brunei is ready to maintain high-level exchanges with China, expand cultural exchanges, jointly safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea, and boost stronger ASEAN-China relations, the Sultan said.
The two heads of state witnessed the signing of several cooperation documents regarding the Belt and Road Initiative, infrastructure and health.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang also met with the Sultan earlier on Wednesday.
Li said China regards ASEAN as a diplomatic priority and will continue to support the ASEAN Community building and its centrality in regional cooperation.
China will work with Brunei to promote the East Asian Leaders' meetings on cooperation later this year to produce more outcomes that contribute to regional stability, cooperation and prosperity, he said.
Zhang said the National People's Congress of China eyes stronger exchanges and cooperation with Brunei's State Legislative Council, to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, and contribute to stronger bilateral strategic cooperative ties.