BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to deepen security cooperation in the region as part of his broad strategy to improve ties with countries "strategically important to China".
A new outlook on security featuring mutual trust, reciprocity, equality and coordination should be adhered to, he said in a key speech at a rare meeting aimed at forging a more coordinated foreign policy in China's neighbourhood.
Held last Thursday and Friday, the meeting was chaired by Premier Li Keqiang and attended by the other five members of the elite Politburo Standing Committee (PSC).
While Chinese leaders often hold foreign policy conferences, it was the first time that one of such scale has been held covering china's relations with its neighbours, said observers.
Thus, it underscored Beijing's new emphasis on diplomacy in its neighbourhood, in view of the disputes and issues of trust it has with countries such as Japan, the Philippines and India.
Beijing-based security analyst Wang Xiangsui said: "Previously, China was focused more on diplomacy between major countries. While this remains of concern, it is now looking more to build good relations with surrounding countries to ensure its development."
Observers said the conference also marks Mr Xi's efforts to improve coordination among government agencies in carrying out China's foreign policy in its neighbourhood.
Besides the PSC leaders, state councillors and officials from a wide range of departments including the central bank also attended the conference.
"We should make arrangements to coordinate diplomatic work, and give full play to various departments to achieve greater progress," Xinhua quoted Mr Xi as saying at the conference.