Beijing, Jan 16 (Agencies): Claiming "new progress" in its ties with South Asian countries, China today said Premier Wen Jiabao's recent visit to India and Pakistan "promoted its strategic partnerships of cooperation" with both the nations.

"Wen's visits to India and Pakistan promoted China's strategic partnerships of cooperation with the two nations," Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said in an interview with the official Xinhua news agency on Sunday.

He said China will continue to play a constructive role in "regional hotspots" and resolve its differences with neighbouring states through negotiations.

His comments came in the backdrop of recent write ups in Chinese official media that Beijing was not looking to strike a "strategic equilibrium" between its two neighbours as
different factors drove it to improve its ties with India while retaining "strategic all weather" relationship with Pakistan.

Hu's remark that Wen's visit to India and Pakistan promoted strategic partnership with both the countries caught the attention of analysts here. New Delhi was often considered to be the prime factor for close strategic ties between Beijing and Islamabad.

During Premier Wen's visit to India, Hu said the two sides established a mechanism for regular exchange between heads of state and governments.

Both the countries also opened a hotline phone contacts between the two Prime Ministers, besides agreeing to establish a strategic economic dialogue mechanism, he said.

During Wen's visit to Pakistan, the two countries established an annual meeting mechanism between leaders and a foreign ministers' dialogue mechanism, Hu said.

"China and South Asian nations have new opportunities to develop their relations. China hopes to develop friendly and cooperative ties with all South Asian nations, based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence and through the joint promotion of peace, stability and development in the region," Hu said.

China which has been admitted as observer in SAARC grouping donated USD 300,000 to the SAARC fund, he said.