China has said it would expand exchanges with India in the coming year and look to improve mutual trust, even as India and China concluded the first meeting of a newly set up consultation and coordination mechanism on boundary issues here on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who visited India last week, said on Tuesday he had a "meeting of minds" with his counterpart S.M. Krishna in New Delhi, with both countries agreeing to bring about "continued and sound growth" in developing relations and increasing exchanges in the coming year, which will be marked as a year of friendship. He was in India last week to lay the groundwork for the visit of President Hu Jintao, who will attend the March 28 and 29 BRICS meeting in New Delhi,

During his visit, Mr. Yang signed an agreement to take forward maritime cooperation, and also confirmed the holding of first meeting of the working mechanism on boundary issues, which was held here on Monday and Tuesday.

The two countries agreed to set up a consultation and coordination mechanism following the 15th round of border talks held in New Delhi in January. The mechanism will study ways to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between military personnel, but it will not discuss the boundary issue.

The group held its first meeting here on Monday, and concluded its session on Tuesday.

Mr. Yang, the Foreign Minister, said both countries needed to "do the specifics very well" in implementing the agreements and taking relations forward.

The Chinese Foreign Minister was speaking during his annual interaction with journalists on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, the Chinese parliament.

This month's BRICS summit, he said, would take place against the backdrop of emerging economies playing a greater role in "making the international order more just and equitable", and he hoped the meeting would yield agreements between the five members on taking forward cooperation on finance and development.

Mr. Yang played down the renewed tensions seen last year between China and several of its neighbours, including India, Japan and many Southeast Asian countries which hold competing claims over the South China Sea.

Suggesting that the tensions had been exaggerated, he said: "Some countries in the world have megaphones, others only small microphones, and some have neither. I believe figures speak louder than words, and China is the biggest trading partner of many of our neighbours". Last year, trade between China and its Asian neighbours reached $ 1 trillion, he said, with Chinese investment in the region exceeding $ 20 billion.

Asked about Chinese concerns over the U.S. "pivot" to Asia and its strengthening of military alliances in the region, he said China and the U.S. had "more converging interests in the Asia-Pacific than any other part of the world". "We hope to see, and welcome, a constructive role by the U.S. in the region," he said.

He, did, however, add that China hoped the U.S. would "truly respect [our] core interests and concerns", and "honour its commitment and properly handle Taiwan and Tibet issues".