China, resource-rich East Timor upgrade bilateral ties
China and East Timor have upgraded bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, potentially giving Beijing more influence in the region while satisfying the young half-island nation's desire for stronger ties with major economies.
The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday, the agreement to enhance relations came after China's President Xi Jinping met with East Timor's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou ahead of the opening ceremony of the Asian Games.
Last year, when Jose Ramos-Horta was inaugurated as East Timor's fifth president since the country's independence in 2002, the Nobel laureate pledged to forge closer relations with China, especially in energy, agriculture and infrastructure.
He said he would continue to foster a relationship with the United States, but added that East Timor would not be implicated in any rivalry between Beijing and Washington.
East Timor welcomes strong ties with all countries, including its southern neighbour Australia, Ramos-Horta said last year.