The relationship between China and Timor-Leste is of long standing. Dated from the 16th century, the first Chinese crossed over the Pacific to reach Timor for the precious sandal, and then settle down since the 18th century. The Timorese Chinese, whose total number once upon reached 25 thousand, gradually rooted in the island and built the Chinese Commercial Association, School and temple here, organizing one of the biggest foreigner community of Timor.
During the struggle of the Timorese people for independence, China once provided sympathy and support for their great cause of self-determination. In the UN debate about Timor issue of 1999, China voted in favor of resolution 1272, which approved to initiate the UNTAEN to temporarily exercised administrative authority over East Timor during the transition to independence.
In 20th May of 2002, the day marked the hard-won independence of Timor-Leste, while attending the historical ceremony, H.E. Mr. Tang Jiaxuan, the former Foreign Minister of China, together with his Timorese Counterpart, H.E.Dr.Jose Ramos Horta, co-signed the "Joint Communiqué on the establishment of Diplomatic Relations Between China and East Timor", indicating that China became the first country to establish diplomatic ties at ambassadorial level with this new-born country.
Since the inception of independence of Timor-Leste, China and Timor have enjoyed a closer bilateral relationship. This is basically because both the two countries never strayed from the principle of enhancing friendship with all sincerity, treating each other as equals, extending mutual support and promoting common development in building their ties. Politically based on the mutual trusts and respects, the exchange visits of high level were never halted and became more and more frequent. The core leaders of Timorese Governments, especially H.E.Dr. Jose Romas Horta, H.E.Dr. Kay Xanana Gusmao, H.E.Dr Mari Alkatiri, have paid visits to China for several times. When President Romas Horta attending the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic games in 2008, President Hu Jintao had a meeting with him and reiterated that china attached great importance to the ties with Timor-Leste and was willing to enhance the bilateral cooperation and friendship. In 2009, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said to his counterpart H.E.Dr. Gusmao, on occasion of the 10th Chinese Western Expo in Chengdu, that both the two countries should work together to promote the common development and elevate the relationship to higher level. What's more, the leaders of Timor-Leste had expressed on many occasions their gratitude for China's assistance and support to the development of Timor-Leste as well as their confidence and optimism about the better future of China-Timor Relation.
In multilateral field, China and Timor-Leste are serious in addressing each other's concerns and interests, maintain mutual trust and coordination in international affairs, and jointly uphold the legitimate rights and interests of the developing countries. As the only Asian country owning the permanent membership of UN Security Council, China all along pays attention to the reconstruction of Timor-Leste, supports all the resolutions propitious to the stability and development of Timor-Leste, and makes great contributions to the UN agencies resident in Timor. So far, China has dispatched almost 300 police to join into the UN peacekeeping mission here. China also highly appreciates the persistence of Timorese Governments in "One China Policy", and the full understanding and unswerving supports provided by Timor-Leste in Taiwan and Tibet issues related to the great cause of the peaceful reunification of China. It would be perpetually imprinted on memory that the Timorese people expressed their solidarity and friendship to the Chinese people by generous donation of 500,000 USD after the devastation earthquake attacked Sichuan Province of China in 2008.
Not only in political field, but also did these two countries establish the cooperative friendship economically. As the largest developing country in the world, China deepens friendship with Timor-Leste mainly with an eye to enhancing the Timor's capacities of sustainable development, thus enabling the Timorese people share the opportunities brought by China's development. Under several agreements on economical and technical cooperation between China and Timor-Leste, China has constantly provided constructive and developmental assistance to Timor-Leste within its affordability in fields of infrastructure, public health, agriculture, education, and capacity building, etc. Besides the remarkable Office Building for Foreign Ministry and Presidential Palace, China has determined to sponsor the 100 sets of houses for members of F-FDTL, the Office Building for Defense Ministry and the primary school in addition. The Chinese Government has provided Timor-Leste with a number of material supplies, including food, edible oil, farm machinery, seeds, and medicine, etc. Thus far, over 600 Timorese civil servants and technical personnel have gained the opportunities of receiving occasional training in China, and many students also received the scholarships from the Chinese Government. The hybrid rice plantation project in Manatuto conducted by China has already got harvest for two seasons. As to the field of public health, China has dispatched three batches of resident medical teams to Timor-Leste to serve more than 100,.000 local patients.
For the last seven years, we witnessed the stable growth of the commerce and trade exchange between China and Timor-Leste. From January to September in 2009, the total amount of trade between these two countries climbed to , increasing by compared to the same period of last year. In 2008, the Chinese Poly Group obtained the contract to sell two patrolling vessels valued 28 million USD to the Timorese Defense Ministry, while the Chinese Nuclear Industrial Group 22nd Constructive Corporation won the contract to build the power plant for Timor-Leste. In order to strengthen the commercial cooperation, China decided to exempt some of the products of Timor-Leste from customs, and encourages the Chinese enterprises to invest in the infrastructure, tourism, retailing trade and so on.
China is willing to continue to strengthen the cooperative friendship in depth and comprehensiveness and engages in the common development of both two countries, thus contributing to the regional peace and prosperity.